SBF legal fees, BTC market cap flips Meta,USDC climbs back to $1

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Top Stories This Week

Sam Bankman-Fried petitions court to prioritize reimbursing his legal fees

Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) is seek­ing to use FTX’s cor­po­rate insur­ance poli­cies to cov­er his legal expens­es, accord­ing to a court fil­ing on March 15. As per the fil­ing, the poli­cies pro­vide “pri­or­i­ty of pay­ment” to insured indi­vid­u­als such as Bankman-Fried. The move would put the for­mer CEO on top of the FTX pay­out list. Anoth­er head­line shows that Bankman-Fried’s inner cir­cle received $3.2 bil­lion in pay­ments and loans from FTX-linked enti­ties. The amounts exclude over $240 mil­lion used for the pur­chas­es of lux­u­ry prop­er­ties in the Bahamas, polit­i­cal and char­i­ty dona­tions, as well as “sub­stan­tial trans­fers” to non-FTX sub­sidiaries. In anoth­er head­line, FTX debtors report­ed $11.6 bil­lion in claims and $4.8 bil­lion in assets, mean­ing there’s a $6.8 bil­lion hole in the exchange’s bal­ance sheet.

Signature Bank closed by New York regulators for not providing data

Cryp­to-friend­ly Sig­na­ture Bank was offi­cial­ly closed down and tak­en over by the New York Depart­ment of Finan­cial Ser­vices on March 12 for “fail­ing to pro­vide con­sis­tent and reli­able data.” The bank has been inves­ti­gat­ed by two Unit­ed States gov­ern­ment bod­ies over whether it took ade­quate mea­sures to mon­i­tor and detect poten­tial mon­ey laun­der­ing by its clients. For­mer mem­ber of the U.S. House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Bar­ney Frank sug­gest­ed that New York reg­u­la­tors closed Sig­na­ture as part of a seem­ing show of force against the cryp­to market. 

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USDC bounces back toward $1 peg after Fed announcement

Circle’s sta­ble­coin, USD Coin (USDC), climbed back to its $1 peg fol­low­ing pos­i­tive devel­op­ments con­cern­ing Circle’s $3.3 bil­lion worth of reserves held at Sil­i­con Val­ley Bank and its new bank­ing part­ners: redemp­tions of USDC will now be processed by Cross Riv­er Bank and BNY Mel­lon. The sta­ble­coin depegged from the U.S. dol­lar on March 10 fol­low­ing SVB’s sud­den col­lapse, trig­ger­ing the depeg of many oth­er sta­ble­coins. The sta­ble­coins’ depeg­ging prompt­ed a growth in loan repay­ments over the week­end, allow­ing debtors to save more than $100 mil­lion on loans.

US Fed announces $25B in funding to backstop banks

Unit­ed States fed­er­al reg­u­la­tors announced “deci­sive actions” that would “ful­ly pro­tect depos­i­tors” at both Sil­i­con Val­ley Bank and the now-shut­tered Sig­na­ture Bank, includ­ing $25 bil­lion worth of fund­ing aimed at back­stop­ping banks and oth­er depos­i­to­ry firms. The Fed­er­al Reserve is inves­ti­gat­ing the fail­ure of Sil­i­con Val­ley Bank — includ­ing an inter­nal probe as to how the Fed super­vised and reg­u­lat­ed the finan­cial insti­tu­tion. Amid the sud­den col­lapse, SVB’s U.K. arm was acquired by HSBC for 1 British pound ($1.21), with loans of 5.5 bil­lion pounds ($6.7 bil­lion) and deposits of 6.7 bil­lion pounds ($8.1 billion).

Bitcoin market cap flips tech giant Meta, widens gap on Visa

Despite a tur­bu­lent week for cryp­to fol­low­ing the down­fall of Sil­i­con Val­ley Bank and Sig­na­ture Bank, Bitcoin’s mar­ket cap has man­aged to flip that of tech giant Meta. On March 14, Bitcoin’s mar­ket cap reached $471.86 bil­lion, sur­pass­ing Meta’s $469 bil­lion, accord­ing to data from Com­pa­nies Mar­ket Cap. The lead­ing cryp­tocur­ren­cy climbed to the 11th spot among top assets by mar­ket cap, sit­ting behind elec­tric vehi­cle mak­er Tes­la. The mar­ket cap­i­tal­iza­tion of Bit­coin has added over $190 bil­lion in 2023, out­per­form­ing top Wall Street bank stocks, par­tic­u­lar­ly as fears of a glob­al bank­ing cri­sis are rising.

Winners and Losers

At the end of the week, Bit­coin (BTC) is at $27,571, Ether (ETH) at $1,823 and XRP at $0.38. The total mar­ket cap is at $1.18 tril­lion, accord­ing to CoinMarketCap.

Among the biggest 100 cryp­tocur­ren­cies, the top three alt­coin gain­ers of the week are Con­flux (CFX) at 186.02%, Mask Net­work (MASK) at 120.56% and Stacks (STX) at 102.97%.

The top three alt­coin losers of the week are UNUS SED LEO (LEO) at ‑2.22%, Teth­er (USDT) at ‑0.35% and Binance USD (BUSD) at ‑0.16%.

For more info on cryp­to prices, make sure to read Cointelegraph’s mar­ket analy­sis.

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Most Memorable Quotations

“The recent shut­downs of finan­cial insti­tu­tions may be the oppor­tu­ni­ty for cryp­to to reach mass adoption.”

John­ny Lyu, CEO of KuCoin

“We believe that ele­ments of the future of finance will be blockchain enabled and we’re already wit­ness­ing rapid change in the tokeni­sa­tion market.”

Drew Brad­ford, exec­u­tive gen­er­al man­ag­er, mar­kets at the Nation­al Aus­tralia Bank

“Major adop­tion by main­stream busi­ness­es and their con­sumers is right around the cor­ner thanks to recent devel­op­ments in scal­ing and pri­va­cy technology.”

Mark Smar­gon, CEO of Fuse Network

“Drop the blockchain/N­FT/­play-to-earn (P2E)/metaverse/Web3 talk. […] They [play­ers] just want to have an enter­tain­ing play­ing expe­ri­ence — not a sci­ence lesson.”

Peter Bergstrom, for­mer pro­duc­er of Age of Empires and CEO of Bit­Block Ventures

“We are going to have a cred­it crunch in the U.S. and glob­al­ly. […] You want to be long gold and sil­ver […] and you want to be long Bitcoin.”

Michael Novo­gratz, founder and CEO of Galaxy Digital

“I believe reg­u­la­tors are using cryp­to as a scape­goat for their own laps­es in over­sight of tra­di­tion­al banking.”

Cathie Wood, CEO of ARK Invest

Prediction of the Week 

Bitcoin price hits $27K in new 9‑month high as Fed injects $300B

Bit­coin hit new nine-month highs on March 17 as the lat­est events in the U.S. bank­ing cri­sis boost­ed cryp­to mar­kets. Data from Coin­tele­graph Mar­kets Pro and Trad­ingView showed BTC/USD hit­ting $27,025 on Bit­stamp before con­sol­i­dat­ing. A cat­a­lyst for fresh upside had come overnight in the form of the Fed­er­al Reserve’s bal­ance sheet data, which showed almost $300 bil­lion being inject­ed into the econ­o­my as part of the bank­ing cri­sis response.

Coin­tele­graph con­trib­u­tor Michaël van de Poppe, founder and CEO of trad­ing firm Eight, eyed spe­cif­ic lev­els up and down.

“Chop­peri­no land on Bit­coin, which means that we’ll prob­a­bly have some side­ways struc­tures,” he wrote on Twit­ter. “Needs to hold $26K. If that holds, $28–30K is next. If it los­es $26K, I’m punt­ing around $25K for some longs. Rel­a­tive­ly easy to understand.”

FUD of the Week 

Euler Finance hacked for over $195M in a flash loan attack

Lend­ing pro­to­col Eurler Finance faced a flash loan attack on March 13. The exploiter car­ried out mul­ti­ple trans­ac­tions, steal­ing near­ly $196 mil­lion in sta­ble­coins DAI and USDC, as well as staked Ether and wrapped Bit­coin. The attack was dubbed the largest hack of 2023 so far. A por­tion of the stolen funds start­ed to be trans­ferred to cryp­to mix­er Tor­na­do Cash short­ly after a $1 mil­lion boun­ty was launched to iden­ti­fy the hack­er. As of March 18, only a small por­tion of the funds had been recov­ered — around 3,000 Ether ($5.4 million).

Europol seizes $46M from crypto mixer after $2.88B allegedly laundered

Law enforce­ment agency Europol has seized assets of cryp­tocur­ren­cy mix­er Chip­Mix­er worth $46 mil­lion for its alleged involve­ment in mon­ey-laun­der­ing activ­i­ties. ChipMixer’s web­site has been shut down and four servers host­ing the appli­ca­tion have been seized. Europol claims that Chip­Mix­er has laun­dered over 152,000 BTC ($2.88 bil­lion) since its incep­tion in 2017.

FBI, NY authorities probes collapse of TerraUSD stablecoin

The U.S. Jus­tice Depart­ment is report­ed­ly inves­ti­gat­ing the col­lapse of the Ter­r­a­Clas­si­cUSD (USTC) sta­ble­coin, which con­tributed to a $40 bil­lion wipe­out in the Ter­ra ecosys­tem last May. For­mer staff at Ter­raform Labs have been inter­ro­gat­ed in recent weeks by U.S. agen­cies, includ­ing the FBI. The probe cov­ers sim­i­lar ground to a law­suit filed against Ter­raform Labs and its founder Do Kwon by the U.S. Secu­ri­ties and Exchange Com­mis­sion in Feb­ru­ary, includ­ing mis­lead­ing investors.

Best Cointelegraph Features

4 out of 10 NFT sales are fake: Learn to spot the signs of wash trading

NFT wash trad­ing inflates the vol­ume on some plat­forms by 10x–20x the legit­i­mate vol­ume. Why is it encour­aged, and what can be done about it?

All rise for the robot judge: AI and blockchain could transform the courtroom

Do the devel­op­ers of legal bots have suf­fi­cient knowl­edge and expe­ri­ence of the law? Is the data used to “train” their algo­rithms time­ly? Will crit­i­cal evi­dence be fil­tered out?

Crypto winter can take a toll on hodlers’ mental health

The relent­less bear mar­ket, a string of high-pro­file crim­i­nal charges and the fall of trust­ed insti­tu­tions have tak­en their toll on those active­ly involved in the cryp­to industry.

Editorial Staff

Coin­tele­graph Mag­a­zine writ­ers and reporters con­tributed to this article.

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