Top Stories This Week
Spot Bitcoin ETFs add 151K BTC amidst GBTC dump in January
The Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) exchange-traded fund (ETF) aggressively sold Bitcoin in January. According to public holdings data tracked by Cointelegraph, GBTC dumped a total of 132,195 Bitcoin (BTC) last month, reducing its Bitcoin stash by 21% to 487,025 BTC on Jan. 31. The other nine funds were actively catching up, adding a combined total of 151,006 Bitcoin since the first trading day. The non-GBTC ETFs increased their holdings by more than 700% to 169,396 BTC at the end of January. Despite GBTC’s sell-off, the total Bitcoin held by all 10 spot Bitcoin ETFs rose by 3% to 656,421 BTC, valued at $27.7 billion.
Celsius exits bankruptcy, commences return of over $3B to creditors
Celsius has emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the United States and is set to start distributing $3 billion worth of crypto and fiat to creditors, along with launching a new Bitcoin mining firm. In a Jan. 31 press release, the crypto lender said its bankruptcy exit sees the creation of Ionic Digital, a Bitcoin mining company managed by Hut 8 and headed by Hut 8 chief commercial officer Matt Prusak. Around 98% of Celsius creditors agreed to the bankruptcy exit plan, which comes over 18 months after it paused withdrawals in June 2022 and filed for bankruptcy a month later.
$900M in vested tokens set to be released in February
The digital asset market is bracing for the release of nearly $900 million in vested tokens in February, according to data provider Token Unlocks. Some of the tokens set to be released include Avalanche, Aptos (APT), The Sandbox (SAND), Optimism (OP) and Sui (SUI). Avalanche is set to unlock 9.5 million tokens, while Aptos plans to release 24.8 million. The Sandbox is scheduled to unlock a significant 209 million tokens. Optimism and Sui will also participate, releasing 24 million OP tokens and unlocking 53 million SUI tokens, respectively.
FTX plans to fully repay customers but not restart exchange, says bankruptcy lawyer
The defunct cryptocurrency exchange FTX said its restructuring plans did not include a “reboot” of the firm but focused on repaying customers in full. In a Jan. 31 hearing in United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware, FTX attorney Andy Dietderich said the exchange could “cautiously predict” fully repaying users and creditors but added this was “an objective” and not a “guarantee.” He said that “after an exhaustive effort,” there was no plan to restart FTX in its current Chapter 11 bankruptcy plan.
Argentina scraps crypto regularization in Milei’s new economic reform
The option to legalize crypto holdings, even if they’re overdue on tax declarations, has been dropped from the ambitious package of reforms that Argentina’s new government of President Javier Milei introduced in the country’s parliament. According to local media reports, the clause about asset regularization suggesting a single-time tax on various types of undeclared assets was cut out of an omnibus bill aiming to kickstart Milei’s policy agenda. The regularization scheme included cryptocurrencies and other assets such as real estate, personal property, stocks and securities. According to Minister of the Interior Guillermo Francos, the topic was removed from the bill because it could cause delays in the legislative process.
Winners and Losers
At the end of the week, Bitcoin (BTC) is at $42,980, Ether (ETH) at $2,297 and XRP at $0.50. The total market cap is at $1.65 trillion, according to CoinMarketCap.
Among the biggest 100 cryptocurrencies, the top three altcoin gainers of the week are Chainlink (LINK) at 26.96%, Pyth Network (PYTH) at 24.95% and Ronin (RON) at 22.70%.
The top three altcoin losers of the week are Jupiter (JUP) at -61.88%, FTX Token (FTT) at -30.55% and OKB (OKB) at -11.70%.
For more info on crypto prices, make sure to read Cointelegraph’s market analysis.
Thailand’s Crypto Utopia — ‘90% of a cult, without all the weird stuff’
Crazy outcomes when current laws applied to NFTs and the metaverse
Most Memorable Quotations
“True decentralization gives confidence to national governments, corporations, and citizens that they can trust the chain and operate with confidence on the chain.”
Superphiz, pseudonymous Ethereum community developer
“The costs and risks of creating a viable exchange from what Mr. Bankman-Fried left in the dumpster were simply too high.”
Andy Dietderich, FTX attorney and partner at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP
“Historically, investors who bought and held bitcoin for at least 5 years have profited, no matter when they made their purchases.”
“So, for blockchain, the way I think about it is that, fundamentally, it’s a collaboration technology. […] At the most fundamental level, that’s what inspires me about blockchains.”
Sam Blackshear, chief technology officer at Mysten Labs
“It’s a sign of health, a sign of validation. Bitcoin is certainly more recognizable, and its name is getting out there.”
Paul Sztorc, Bitcoin Drivechain proponent
“The [SEC] policy of denying defendants the right to criticize publicly a settlement after it is signed is unnecessary, undermines regulatory integrity, and raises First Amendment concerns.”
Hester Peirce, commissioner of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
Prediction of the week
BTC price shows $60K ‘potential’ as MVRV metric copies Bitcoin bull cycles
Bitcoin may be struggling on lower timeframes in the wake of the spot exchange-traded fund (ETF) releases, but zooming out, the picture remains optimistic. In a post on X on Jan. 30, popular pseudonymous social media commentator Ali eyed history repeating itself on a classic BTC price indicator.
For Ali, one of the various encouraging signs comes from the market value to realized value (MVRV) metric — a classic tool for measuring what on-chain analytics firm Glassnode calls Bitcoin’s “fair value.”
Currently, BTC/USD MVRV is focusing on the mean level, crossing it from both above and below in a style that characterized both 2016 and 2020 — just before a run to all-time highs began. “During past bull markets, Bitcoin rebounded strongly after touching the mean MVRV pricing band,” Ali wrote in accompanying comments. “We’re witnessing a similar pattern now. With the recent bounce from the mean MVRV at $40,500, there’s potential for $BTC to surge to the 1.0 standard deviation line at $60,000!”
FUD of the Week
Binance claims code leak on GitHub is ‘outdated,’ poses minor risk
Crypto exchange Binance has refuted a report claiming a “highly sensitive” cache of internal passwords and code had been exposed on GitHub for months — arguing the code was outdated and posed a “negligible risk.” According to a Jan. 31 report from 404 Media, there was a cache of “code, infrastructure diagrams, internal passwords, and other technical information,” including information about how the exchange carries out passwords and multifactor authentication. A Binance spokesperson told Cointelegraph that the individual “shared very outdated information on GitHub.”
Ripple chairman Chris Larsen hacked for reported 213M XRP worth approximately $112.5M
Ripple co-founder and executive chairman Chris Larsen said on Jan. 31 that his personal accounts had been hacked. The news was first reported by pseudonymous crypto analyst ZachXBT, where it was initially thought that the company itself had been hacked. Larsen didn’t confirm the amounts but, per ZachXBT, the breach netted 213 million XRP, worth about $112.5 million as of the time of the event. The attacker attempted to launder the XRP through at least six different exchanges, including MEXC, Gate.io, Binance, Kraken, OKX, HTX and HitBTC. Binance later froze $4.2 million worth of XRP from the hack.
HyperVerse’s alleged $1.7B ‘Ponzi’ promised HK listing, hired fake CEO
At least two people were behind an alleged $1.7 billion cryptocurrency fraud scheme that once promised investors plans to list on the Hong Kong stock exchange and even hired an actor to play as the firm’s CEO, according to a lawsuit from the United States securities regulator. On Jan. 29, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged Xue Lee (aka Sam Lee) and Brenda “Bitcoin Beautee” Chunga for their involvement in the scheme, which operated under several names, such as HyperFund, HyperVerse and HyperTech. A third person, promoter Rodney Burton, has also been charged by prosecutors.
DeFi vs. CeFi: Decentralization for the win?
Can you trust crypto exchanges after the collapse of FTX?
Top Magazine Pieces of the Week
‘Treat your first NFT purchase like a first date’ — NFT Collector Suzanne
NFT Collector Suzanne has an incredible collection of Pudgy Penguins, CryptoPunks and Fidenza’s — but she advises noobs not to get too eager.
Mystery of Polygon’s missing MATIC: Everyone’s doing it, says ChainArgos
Blockchain data suggests a 400-million-MATIC hole in Polygon’s staking address, but ChainArgos says everybody else’s token allocations have gone wrong, too.
Nic Carter vs the Bitcoin Maxis, ‘no regrets’ about losing $10M DOGE: X Hall of Flame
Nic Carter says he has “no regrets” about losing a hard drive with $10 million in DOGE, nor about upsetting Bitcoin Maxis: X Hall of Flame.
The most engaging reads in blockchain. Delivered once a
Cointelegraph Magazine writers and reporters contributed to this article.