February - Crypto news

Bitcoin climbs above $25,000

The year 2023 has begun in a much more positive spirit than what the year 2022 could offer. On Thursday February 16th, Bitcoin reached the $25,104 level for the first time since last August. The first months of the year have shown a slow but steady rise of most cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin which should be considered a positive signal as it has grown by almost 50% since the beginning of the year and we can sense momentum in an increasingly positive market where Bitcoin today holds a market share of 42.2% and Ethereum is at 18.7% of the total market value. Smartchains token BnB takes the 3rd place for coins/tokens while USD Tether dominates among stablecoins even though USDC is slowly but surely growing stronger.

The positive trend may partly be due to the friendly attitude that Hong Kong has presented for 2023, where ordinary consumer trade will be allowed to take part in the ETH and BTC market in order to be able to offer trade to its customers. In contrast to the US where the SEC is cracking down right now, Hong Kong is betting on becoming the world's crypto hub and SCF their counterpart to the SEC has recently asked the industry for their views and feedback to create a clearer and safer crypto environment for all involved with great emphasis on regulation. Can India be the country that can unite the G20 countries regarding new crypto regulations? In this week's G20 and IMF/IBS/FIB meeting, they took the lead in favor of a heavily regulated market instead of a ban, and we will get to see the new global framework during the summer of 2023.

NFT on Bitcoin

Ordinals, the technology for registering digital assets "on-chain" on the Bitcoin network, is part of the new bitcoin hype that has increased transaction fees on the BTC network by nearly 75% in the past month. NFT on bitcoin is not really new but it is only now that an official collection is released via the company Artsy Monke which consists of 10,000 AI generated monkeys and much more is on the way.

NFT on bitcoin is technically possible through the upgrades the Bitcoin network implemented in 2017 (SegWit) and 2021 (TapRoot) and the technology works as if you register your digital asset on individual satoshis which makes them unique and available on-chain instead of the more common way where information that points to where the "image" is located is stored via IPFS (Interplanetary File System). The approach has caused some Bitcoin developers going nuts and they call this a huge spamming of the network and today we are used to seeing the Bitcoin maximalists arguing in different camps where the sides fight to keep and preserve in different ways what they themselves claim is the "foundation" of Satoshi Nakamoto's vision, even if no one has ever met the person or knows what the person would think about this today. Will there be a new wave of forks and changes in the same vein as when the most Scientology-like movements started their own versions of the "true and only true" bitcoin resulting in Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin SV with the fundamentalist preachers Craig Wright and Roger Ver at the helm but that remains to be seen. The only thing we know for sure is that the opinions and perceptions of what Bitcoin really is and stands for are as many as the number of people interested and we will probably see a number of debates regarding this going forward.

The Kraken platform is prohibited from offering customers its "Staking" services

The SEC is cracking down on what it calls staking services that are aimed at the American market. In the wake of the FTX chaos, which also brought down big players like BlockFi and Celsius, they have taken the hard gloves to protect private investors.

Kraken has now disabled its staking and lend/borrow services and does not dispute the SEC proposal and thus the exchange has agreed to settle with US authorities and will therefore pay its USD 30 million "fine" and disable services against the domestic market while still being available to other customers. How this will affect platforms such as Binance US and Coinbase remains to be seen, but the risk is great that they too will have to review their services to the American market and we may also see how this spills over to other markets when international authorities and banks get up steam regarding new frameworks for regulating existing markets.

Could this lead to a new wave of decentralized DEFI services seeing how the number of users is rapidly increasing on popular platforms such as ApeSwap, SushiSwap and Uniswap? Defi today is growing as fast if not faster than the summer of 2021 and future regulations could create a new gold rush within Defi where the DAO function can replace today's traditional system and let users stake out the future for both good and bad.