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Weekend Watch: Dogecoin Skyrockets 13%, BNB Breaks $300

Bitcoin continues to display little-to-no price swings and stands still around $16,500.

Some altcoins, though, have significantly outperformed BTC, including Dogecoin and Binance Coin, both of which jumped to multi-week highs.

DOGE, BNB Soar

The altcoins were slightly in the red yesterday, but the landscape is quite different now, at least for some.

Binance Coin is among those. Amid the latest rumors around the world’s largest crypto exchange, BNB has jumped by 7%. As a result, it reclaimed $300 and tapped a three-week high at almost $320.

Dogecoin is another notable gainer. DOGE is up by over 12% on a daily scale and trades north of $0.09.

Ethereum had added 3% of value and has gone above $1,200 after dipping below that line yesterday. Cardano, Polygon, Polkadot, Litecoin, Shiba Inu, OKB, and Solana are also in the green from the larger-cap alts.

Overall, the cumulative market cap of all crypto assets has gained roughly $10 billion in a day and sits just over $840 billion.

Cryptocurrency Market Overview. Source: Quantify Crypto
Cryptocurrency Market Overview. Source: Quantify Crypto

Bitcoin Stays Flat

While some alternative coins have charted impressive gains, bitcoin has remained relatively calm on a daily scale. In fact, the asset stands at the same precise price spot it was during the previous weekend – at $16,500.

This comes after the enhanced volatility experienced during the working week, which culminated in a price drop to $15,500. This became BTC’s lowest price position in about two years.

The bulls managed to defend that level and pushed it north. As a result, bitcoin came close to breaking above $17,000 but was stopped in its tracks.

Being flat around $16,500 now and the altcoins gaining means that bitcoin’s dominance over them has been reduced. The metric is down to under 38%, as BTC’s market cap has gone down to just below $320 billion.

BTCUSD. Source: TradingView
BTCUSD. Source: TradingView

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Crypto Exchange Bitget Expands to Africa. Plans To Hire 400 New Workers

The cryptocurrency winter has been colder for some than others. While some cryptocurrency exchanges are forced to conduct massive employee layoffs to weather the bear market, others like Bitget continue to make massive hires to improve their services.

On November 25, the cryptocurrency and crypto derivatives exchange Bitget announced its registration in the Seychelles, Africa, as a means to facilitate its global expansion.

As reported by The Cryptonomist, Bitget plans to increase its workforce by 50%, going from 800 workers to 1200 during the first quarter of 2023. In addition, it is hiring engineers and marketing professionals to improve its users’ experience.

Formerly decentralized, the exchange decided to register in the Seychelles to meet its goals of setting up more regional hubs in the future. Currently, Bitget has regional centers in Asia and Latin America, but now the team is aiming at Africa and Europe as strategic market regions.

Seychelles Registration Will Strengthen Bitget’s Business Relationships

Bitget CEO Gracy Chen said that the Seychelles registration under the International Business Companies Act of 2016 will strengthen the platform’s banking relationships. The exchange has established meaningful partnerships with sports stars such as Lionel Messi and soccer teams such as Juventus.

“We see Seychelles as a friendly region for the crypto community. We have been working for several months on this registration and are happy to announce the development now. The registration in Seychelles offers a constructive environment for Bitget, enabling us to unlock collaborations with partners and strengthen banking relationships, along with our expansion with different partnerships, such as the Argentine football legend Lionel Messi and the Italian football club Juventus.”

Chen further noted that the company will continue to hire “despite current market sentiment,” as talented personnel is needed to help the company grow, making it a secure and reliable platform to stand firm in a “fiercely competitive industry.”

Crypto Winter Causes Mass Layoffs in the Crypto Industry

As reported by CryptoPotato, the current market conditions have been so harsh that many exchanges have been forced to reduce their staffs to survive one of the worst years for the cryptocurrency market and the global economy.

Currently, thousands of people in the crypto industry have lost their jobs, with companies like Three Arrows Capital (3AC), Voyager Digital, Celsius Network, and FTX in the headlines of crypto and mainstream media.

The Latin American crypto startup Lemon Cash was the last exchange to announce a significant layoff. According to its CEO, Marcelo Cavazzoli, the company must prepare to face the next three years without depending on new investments, which justified a 40% cut of its current workforce (around 100 workers in Argentina and Brazil).

Although some exchanges will continue to make massive layoffs, there will always be others, such as Binance, Huobi, and Bitget, that will continue to welcome new staff even if the conditions are not the best.

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Circle Warns About Scammers Baiting USDC Users

Circle, the firm behind USDC stablecoin, issued a warning about an active phishing campaign attempting to lure users into transferring tokens to malicious addresses.

As per the tweet, the threat actors masquerading to work for Centre, which is a consortium founded by Coinbase and Circle.

Circle’s Statement

Circle said there is no new version of the USDC token in the marketplace and urged users not to fall for the scam.

“PSA WARNING: There is an active phishing campaign attempting to lure users into transferring #USDC tokens to malicious addresses. The scammers are pretending to be from Centre. There is not a new version of USDC in the marketplace. Please do not fall for this.”

Circle CEO and founder Jeremy Allaire recently wrote to Congressional leaders for financial services, urging for clear, workable legislation on stablecoins in the United States while warning that failing to do so will attract more risks to the country.

Persistent Phishing Scams

Phishing activity, on the other hand, played a starring role during the bear market. The latest development emerges just days after the detection of a phishing campaign to bypass multi-factor authentication and gain access to accounts on crypto exchanges such as Coinbase, MetaMask, Crypto.com, and KuCoin and siphon crypto-assets.

According to BleepingComputer, the scammer’s entities abused the Microsoft Azure Web Apps service to host a network of phishing sites and lure victims to them via phishing messages impersonating fraudulent transaction confirmation requests or suspicious activity detection.”

More recently, a poorly made “deep fake” video of Sam Bankman-Fried, the former CEO of cryptocurrency exchange FTX, made rounds on Twitter, attempting to scam users affected by the exchange’s bankruptcy.

Furthermore, blockchain security expert CertiK revealed in a new report about a large group of professional “Know Your Customer (KYC)” actors being employed by dubious blockchain devs and scammers to defraud crypto investors.

The actors in question complete the KYC process on behalf of scam project owners to want to gain the crypto community’s trust before executing a rug pull.

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1inch Unveils New Feature to Protect Users From ‘Sandwich Attacks’

Decentralized exchange aggregator – 1inch – announced the launch of a tool called “Rabbithole.”

According to the press release shared with CryptoPotato, the new feature is designed to protect MetaMask traders swapping on the 1inch platform against “sandwich attacks” – a type of front-running attack usually applied over transactions sent to a DEX to buy tokens.

  • RabitHole essentially works by sending swap transactions on 1inch directly to validators while avoiding the mempool, where it is prone to be attacked by sandwich bots. This is done by aggregating providers that allow sending swap transactions directly to validators, such as Flashbots, BloXroute, Eden, and Manifold.
  • In addition to MetaMask users, the tool is also expected to benefit other crypto wallets, such as 1inch Wallet, Ledger, and Trezor, which are capable of creating and signing a transaction.

“The RabbitHole is designed as a proxy, connecting 1inch users’ MetaMask wallets and Ethereum validators. Its unique algorithm will check swap transactions on 1inch for the threat of a sandwich attack, and, if such a threat is detected, the transaction will be sent directly to validators, using one of the aggregated providers.”

  • RabbitHole can be used free of cost during the testing period. Decisions regarding payment options will be made after receiving feedback from community members.
  • 1inch also hinted at staking a certain amount of 1INCH tokens as a possible option for payments.
  • For the uninitiated, a sandwich attack is carried out by a fraudulent trader looking at a pending transaction on a blockchain network. The “sandwiching,” in this case, is carried out by placing one order right before the trade and one right after it. The attacker will then front-run and back-run at the same time as the original pending transaction remains sandwiched in between.
  • The end goal of carrying out such an attack is to manipulate the price of the asset by placing two orders and surrounding pending transactions.
  • 1inch revealed that the very first sandwich attack is believed to be conducted on Bancor in February 2018.

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Binance Removes Trading Pairs for FTX-Linked Serum Token

Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange, will remove multiple trading pairs for the DEX protocol Serum (SRM), which is known to have deep ties to both FTX and Alameda Research. 

The token will no longer be tradeable for Bitcoin (BTC), Tether (USDT), or Binance’s native BNB token. 

What is Serum?

Binance revealed Serum’s trading restrictions, alongside a handful of other pair removals, in an announcement on Friday. Other restricted assets include the BTC hash rate-backed BTCST token, and the Gifto protocol’s GTO token. 

Binance will remove the 16 mentioned pairs starting Monday at 3:00 UTC. Other pairs related to the listed assets will remain available for trade.

“Users are strongly advised to update their trading strategies prior to the cessation of strategy trading services to avoid any potential losses,” it said. Binance also temporarily suspended deposits for Solana-based USDT and USDC last Thursday, and has thus far only resumed USDC deposits.

Serum is a decentralized exchange protocol on Solana created by a consortium including the FTX, Alameda Research, and the Solana Foundation. Its native token, SRM, gives holders fee discounts while using the protocol, alongside governance rights. 

Earlier this month, both FTX and Alameda filed for bankruptcy and froze withdrawals for almost all counterparties. Meanwhile, the Solana Foundation revealed on Monday that it currently has 134.54 million tokens trapped on the exchange. Since FTX’s withdrawal troubles began on November 6th, SRM has fallen from $0.80 down to $0.27 at writing time. 

Adding to the uncertainty is the word that Serum is actually a centralized project, explicitly controlled by FTX. According to Mango Markets co-founder Max Schneider, the Serum’s program update key is connected to FTX, rather than the SRM DAO. 

FTX was hacked by an unknown party shortly after its bankruptcy, meaning the key may have been compromised (though Bahamas regulators claim they were the one behind the purported “hack.”)

Solana founder Anatoly Yakovenko echoed this claim weeks ago, adding that developers that depended on Serum were joining forces to “fork” the program in response. 

“This has nothing to do with SRM or even Jump,” he said, referring to Jump’s crypto division that took part in the movement. “ A ton of protocols depend on serum markets for liquidity and liquidations.”

Exposure to Serum

As one of Serum’s co-creators, FTX had $5.4 billion in SRM listed as assets on its balance sheet as of November 10th, as leaked by the Financial Times. According to CoinGecko, the asset only has a circulating market cap worth $100 million, and a daily volume of $40 million. 

Many DeFi projects are now distancing themselves from SRM by disabling services for the asset. Jupiter, another Solana-based DEX aggregator, told users on November 12th that it turned off Serum as a liquidity source “due to security concerns about upgrade authorities.”

“The ecosystem is working on a fork right now, and we will support it asap,” it added.

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Turkey to Confiscate ‘Suspicious’ Assets Related to FTX: Report

The Financial Crimes Investigation Board of Turkey (MASAK) seeks to seize “suspicious” assets linked to the battered cryptocurrency exchange FTX. 

The authorities also plan to open an investigation against the trading venue’s former CEO – Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF).

Going After SBF

The Turkish agency sought a greenglight from the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office to launch a thorough inspection on FTX and its dubious activities over the years. The entity vowed to confiscate “suspicious” assets related to the platform should the regulators give their approval. 

MASAK is also willing to examine the actions of Bankman-Fried and determine his role in the exchange’s collapse. 

Several reports indicated that the 30-year-old American had spent millions of dollars to pay off media outlets to present him as a trustworthy entrepreneur to the broad public. Twitter’s new CEO – Elon Musk – believes in those assumptions and said FTX could still be a functional venue if SBF were as good at running it as he was at bribing broadcast entities.

Other sources revealed that Bankman-Fried and other executives of the collapsed platform misused customers’ funds over the years and purchased multi-million beachfront houses in the Bahamas.

MASAK has already opened an investigation against the Turkish subsidiary of the exchange – FTX Turkey – and seized digital currencies related to its bosses.

“As a result of our aforementioned application, a judicial investigation was opened against the suspects, and a confiscation measure was applied to the assets of the suspects,” a previous notice reads.

The Recent Crypto Seizure in Turkey

The Turkish police arrested 46 individuals in October who allegedly ran an illegal betting organization and used cryptocurrencies to launder profits. 

The investigation assumed that the entity processed around $135 million worth of digital assets throughout its existence.

Süleyman Soylu – Turkey’s Minister of Interior – stated law enforcement agents confiscated approximately a third of that amount, saying this is “just the beginning:”

“This operation came out of Turkish Cyprus and is linked to the murder of Halil Falyali. A transfer of approximately TL 2.5 billion of money occurred. Approximately $40 million of money has been confiscated at the moment.”

The authorities presented the documents of the seizure to the governments of multiple European nations so they could be aware of the problem and prevent such negative events on the Old Continent.

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MakerDAO Disposes of renBTC as Stablecoin Collateral

MakerDAO – the issuer of the decentralized stablecoin DAI – unanimously passed a proposal this week to remove renBTC as a form of reserve collateral. 

The Bitcoin-pegged token was deemed too risky to hold exposure to in light of its connections to the now-bankrupt trading desk Alameda Research. 

Alameda and Ren

As announced by MakerDAO over Twitter on Thursday, Maker’s governance voted to offboard the RENBTC-A Vault type in a governance poll that opened on Monday.

Nearly 75,000 votes were in favor of the motion, with 0 abstaining or objecting. 

“Considering the acquisition of the Ren project by Alameda Research and the recent bankruptcy of the latter, the Ren development team disabled the Ren network mints,” said Maker. Ren 1.0 network, it said, will shut down within 30 days after November 18th. 

Ren is a bridge protocol for transferring digital assets to other blockchains (ex. transferring BTC to Ethereum). Facilitating such bridges requires a trusted third party to hold organic BTC in reserves, such that the bridge token (renBTC) is always redeemable with BTC 1:1. This allows the price of the bridge token to consistently track that of the base asset. 

Stablecoins work in much the same way, with organizations like Tether and Circle holding billions in cash and U.S. Treasuries to back their dollar equivalent tokens. Both organizations release periodic attestations affirming the status of their reserves. 

By contrast, MakerDAO backs its DAI stablecoin through a basket of cryptocurrencies like USDC, ETH, renBTC, and others. 

Ren was acquired by Alameda Research earlier this year and has since received quarterly funding from the firm. After the trading desk filed for bankruptcy, Ren announced last week that it would disable its previous Ren 1.0 tokenized Bitcoin offering in favor of a new, community-controlled “Ren 2.0” faster than previously planned. 

The team clarified that Ren 1.0 “remained and still remains fully safe and operational.” According to CoinGecko, the asset is still price pegged to BTC, trading at $16,600 at writing time. 

“Marking this event as the end of Alameda’s involvement in the project by sunsetting Ren 1.0, safeguards the reputation, integrity, and hence long-term prospects of the Ren ecosystem,” said Ren in its statement last Friday. 

Risks to Ren?

Despite renBTC’s current stability, Maker’s Risk Core Unit stated that the DAO’s offboarding of the asset could itself cause it to de-peg from Bitcoin. “Disabling burns means that Maker has a limited time frame to offboard the collateral to minimize potential future complications,” explained Maker. 

The organization added that its offboarding from RENBTC-A  “doesn’t represent any threat or deficiency to the Maker Protocol’s financial health, nor to its solvency.”

Another FTX-linked Bitcoin asset – soBTC – has already dropped 90% in value after FTX disabled withdrawals earlier this month. The exchange was responsible for holding the Bitcoin backing those tokens, but was exposed as having zero Bitcoin on its balance sheet as of November 10th.

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Bitcoin, Ethereum Not Securities: Clarifies Belgium’s FSMA

Belgium’s financial regulator does not consider crypto-assets such as Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) to be securities.

The Financial Services and Markets Authority (FSMA) released a statement in which it said cryptocurrencies that are issued solely by computer code do not constitute securities. The regulator’s response comes after receiving an increasing number of questions about the application of financial rules on the asset class.

Win for BTC, ETH

With a prominent financial regulator attempting to address one of the grey major areas in the sector, FSMA’s latest clarification is viewed as a win for the community. The basis is a crypto-asset is not a security if there is no issuer.

“If there is no issuer, as in cases where instruments are created by a computer code and this is not done in execution of an agreement between issuer and investor (for example, Bitcoin or Ether), then in principle the Prospectus Regulation, the Prospectus Law and the MiFID rules of conduct do not apply.”

The authority also stated that crypto-assets that classify as non-securities might be subject to other laws and regulations. But this is only applicable if they have a payment or exchange function, meaning if a firm uses the assets in question “as a medium of exchange.”

FSMA regards Belgium’s “step-wise” plan to be technology-agnostic and that the qualification as security, financial instrument, or investment instrument does not depend on the technology being used. The regulator also stated that it would update the plan as and when required.

According to the regulator, the step-wise plan would act as a guideline until the adoption of the European Parliament’s Markets in Crypto Assets Regulation (MiCA), which is slated for the beginning of 2024.

A Precedent for the US?

Belgium’s statement may set a precedent for regulatory framework across the world, which is in stark contrast to the views of US Securities Exchange Commission Chairman Gary Gensler, where Ripple Labs continues to battle the securities regulator over the status of XRP.

The agency had earlier claimed that 99% of cryptocurrency trading is most likely security trading and comes under their purview of regulations.

Additionally, Ethereum’s transition to proof-of-stake also placed the industry back in the crosshairs of the SEC after Gensler stated that PoS-based coins could be subject to securities laws.

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Binance Leads PoR Effort, Bitcoin’s Battle Above $16K and Crypto Market’s Attempt at Recovery: This Week’s Recap

The past week was somewhat positive for the entire cryptocurrency market, both in terms of pricing and overall developments. While the meltdown of FTX looms over the industry and most market participants are still afraid of contagion, the total capitalization added over $10 billion amid ongoing developments.

First things first, this week’s overall increase doesn’t come on the back of Bitcoin, which is actually down about 1% over the period. The cryptocurrency attempted a push toward $17K but was quickly halted and has descended to where it’s currently trading at around $16,500.

Meanwhile, BNB is up a whopping 12% over the same period. It’s now solidly trading around the pivotal $300 mark and instills confidence in the market. This comes as Binance – the world’s leading exchange – recently launched a system for cryptographic proof-of-reserves. Initially working only with Bitcoin, the team vowed to add other cryptocurrencies in the next couple of weeks. This is a big move, as anyone can now verify their BTC balance on the exchange via a Merkle Tree.

Another cryptocurrency that impressed over the past 7 days was Litecoin. LTC is up a massive 22% and is the market leader, at least amid the top 20 cryptocurrencies by total market capitalization. One of the reasons brought forward is the approaching halving which is estimated to take place in about 8 months, and big players accumulating in advance.

Meanwhile, more news from the Binance front came as well – the company’s industry recovery fund has been kicked off with a massive $1 billion to support projects that have experienced liquidity problems amid the FTX fallout.

All in all, the week was quite eventful, and even though the fear of possible contagion from the recent events still looms, it seems that steps are being taken in the right direction.

It’s interesting to see how the next days will shape up, especially as we approach the holiday season.

Market Data

Market Cap: $868B | 24H Vol: 45B | BTC Dominance: 36.6%

BTC: $16,542 (-1%) | ETH: $1,192 (-0.8%) | BNB: $301 (+12%)

25.11

This Week’s Crypto Headlines You Can’t Miss

The Reasons Why Litecoin (LTC) Surged by Over 30%, Hitting 6-Month High. Litecoin was one of this week’s biggest surprises. The cryptocurrency soared by a whopping 30% in a single day, hitting a 6-month high in doing so. Here are some of the reasons for the sudden surge.

The Fall of Sam Bankman-Fried’s Crypto Empire: A Timeline of FTX’s Collapse. FTX’s downfall is undoubtedly the biggest story of 2022. This is a complete timeline of how the entire thing went down, from the beginning, right up to the information that we have up until this moment.

These Are the Most Shocking Findings From FTX’s Bankruptcy Filing. The bankruptcy filing of FTX revealed some truly shocking facts. Did you know that the exchange barely kept any records whatsoever? Here are some of the most interesting findings.

Binance SAFU Insurance Fund is 44% Backed by its Own Token. Following the demise of FTX, many exchanges took it upon themselves to provide proof of reserves as to what and how much cryptocurrency they store. Binance’s SAFU fund was also in the spotlight, with some pointing out that up to 44% of its reserves are actually comprised of BNB.

Russia Inches Closer to Launching a National Crypto Exchange (Report). Russia is moving a step closer to embracing cryptocurrencies. The country is working on a national crypto exchange, and it could see the light of day if the Finance Ministry approves it.

Cathie Wood Reiterates Her $1 Million Bitcoin Bet. The CEO of Ark Invest, Cathie Wood, has once again expressed her overly bullish stance on Bitcoin. She thinks that the cryptocurrency will reach $1 million by 2030 and also gave a few reasons why.

Charts

This week we have a chart analysis of Ethereum, Ripple, Cardano, Binance Coin, and Litecoin – click here for the complete price analysis.

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Users Can Now Verify the Bitcoin They Own on Binance via Merkle Tree

The world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange – Binance – introduced its Proof of Reserves (PoR) system to display to users the exact amount of its crypto reserves.

The feature will initially show only bitcoin’s holdings, while other coins will follow in the future.

  • Binance has taken some additional measures to reaffirm its customers’ trust during the turbulent times following the FTX crash.
  • In a recent announcement, the company disclosed the launch of a Proof of Reserves (PoR) system showing that its on-chain reserve is composed of 582,485.9302 BTC. Customer Net Balance (Equity – Debt) equals 575,742.4228 BTC.
  • The trading venue vowed to release the PoR for other cryptocurrencies in two weeks. Binance will also hire third-party auditors to check the results.
  • CEO Changpeng Zhao said the crypto community currently demands more from exchanges, and the firm is “pleased” to provide such clarity:

“As Binance’s user community is exponentially larger than the next largest exchange, this is a massive undertaking and will take a few weeks to develop the data for the majority of our assets in custody. We are working to get the next update out as quickly as possible to meet the community’s expectations,” he added.

  • The platform topped up its SAFU insurance fund to $1 billion following the FTX meltdown. Those assets could be distributed to clients in case of future emergencies.
  • Binance has also introduced an industry recovery fund that could help other projects that experience liquidity issues.

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