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Fed Chief's View on Inflation, Binance Aids Earthquake Victims, and NFTs Reach Million-Dollar Sales

Image of Jerome Powell with a Bitcoin background and a downward arrow signifying a declining market
  • Bitcoin Experiences a Slowdown After Powell's Remarks on Inflation

  • Hut 8 and US Bitcoin Unite in Crypto Mining Partnership

  • Binance Offers Relief to Earthquake-Stricken Turkey with $100 in BNB Tokens

  • NFT Market Gets a Boost as CryptoPunk and Bored Ape Reach Million-Dollar Sales

Fed Chief Powell's View on Beating Inflation Slows Down Bitcoin's Rise

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell's remarks on inflation control impacted the value of Bitcoin in the financial market. During his speech at the Economic Club of Washington, D.C., Powell stated that the central bank is starting to get inflation under control, but it will take a long time to fully tame it. As a result, Bitcoin initially rose, but later dropped by 0.2% and is currently trading at $22,937. The Fed's aggressive monetary policy has led to a shift in risk from stocks and equities to the dollar, but as the bank changes its approach, markets have started to recover. In the past 30 days, Bitcoin has increased by more than 35%.


Binance Aids Earthquake Victims in Turkey with $100 BNB Tokens

Binance, one of the leading cryptocurrency exchanges, has announced that it will be providing aid to the victims of the recent earthquake in Turkey by airdropping $100 worth of Binance Coin (BNB) tokens to Binance users in the hardest hit regions. The process of identifying eligible users will involve checking Proof of Address submissions made before February 6th in ten cities affected by the earthquake. The estimated value of the donations is around $5 million. Binance Charity has also set up a public donation address for individuals to donate to the Emergency Earthquake Appeal using various cryptocurrencies.

In light of the disaster, the use of cryptocurrency transfers has become a popular solution for delivering financial aid to disaster victims due to its speed, cost-effectiveness, transparency, and unrestricted nature. Other organizations within the crypto ecosystem have also stepped up to support the earthquake victims, with cryptocurrency exchange Bitget announcing that it has committed 1 million Turkish Lira to aid relief efforts.


Motion Denied: SBF Cannot Utilise Messaging Apps

A federal judge in the Southern District of New York has denied a joint agreement between former FTX CEO, Sam "SBF" Bankman-Fried, and prosecutors, allowing him to use certain messaging apps. The motion, which was filed in January, was denied "without prejudice" by Judge Lewis Kaplan, who did not provide a reason for the denial. The matter will be subject to oral arguments in a hearing set for February 9th. Bankman-Fried was arrested in December and charged with eight criminal counts, including wire fraud. He is under house arrest and his trial is set to begin in October.


DCG Unloads Shares in Grayscale Crypto Trusts for Fundraising Efforts

Digital Currency Group (DCG), a leading player in the cryptocurrency sector, has begun selling shares in its prized investment vehicles managed by its subsidiary Grayscale in order to raise funds. The move comes as DCG seeks to repay creditors of its collapsed lending arm, Genesis. According to US securities filings seen by the Financial Times, DCG has started offloading its holdings in Grayscale's investment vehicles, as the company faces financial difficulties. Grayscale, the asset management arm of DCG, earns hundreds of millions of dollars each year in fees for managing large pools of cryptocurrencies. DCG's share sales have focused on Grayscale's ethereum fund, where it has sold about a quarter of its stock to raise as much as $22mn in several trades since January 24. The company is selling at around $8 per share, despite each share's claim to $16 of ether.


Crypto Mining Companies Hut 8 and US Bitcoin to Merge

Canada-based cryptocurrency mining company Hut 8 Mining has announced plans to merge with US Bitcoin to form Hut 8 Corp, or “New Hut.” The merger, which will create a United States-based business, is still subject to court and regulatory approval by U.S. and Canadian authorities. The newly merged firm will reportedly have access to roughly 825 megawatts across six facilities for crypto mining and other operations. The CEO of Hut 8, Jaime Leverton, stated that the transaction will leverage the company's unencumbered Bitcoin stack and position them for near-term growth as a strong, U.S.-based player. The merger is subject to court and regulatory approval.


CoW Swap Hacker Makes off with 550 BNB via Solver Exploit

CoW Swap, a decentralized exchange (DEX) protocol, recently suffered a security breach, resulting in the loss of at least 550 Binance Coin (BNB), valued at approximately $181,600. The attack was carried out through a contract exploit that approved fund transfers from the protocol. A wallet address was added as a "solver" of CoW Swap by a multisig, which invoked the transaction to approve DAI to SwapGuard, ultimately leading to the transfer of assets from the CoW Swap settlement contract. The stolen funds were moved to the crypto mixer Tornado Cash.

CoW Swap assured its users that their funds were not at risk during the attack, as the exploited settlement contract only had access to the fees collected by the protocol in a week and the team was unable to access user funds without an order signed by users directly. Despite the recent hack, the DeFi space has seen significant growth in the month of January, according to a report from DappRadar.

It should be noted that North Korean hackers were also responsible for a significant amount of stolen crypto assets in 2022, with estimates placing the total value at $630 million to $1 billion.


DeFi Protocols Join Forces to Advance Permissionless Web3

Over thirty DeFi protocols have joined forces in a 24-hour initiative aimed at promoting the concept of a permissionless, interoperable Web3 experience. The effort comes as the DeFi space is still recovering from the negative sentiments generated by several major crypto ecosystem crashes in 2022, as well as a number of exploits that have left the sector's reputation in need of repair. The projects involved in the campaign include, MakerDAO, SushiSwap, and Aave. According to the participants, the spirit of DeFi is one of collaboration, rather than competition, and they aim to challenge the status quo of traditional finance by democratizing financial tools and products and providing a more equitable, safer, and transparent financial system. Despite the challenges faced by the DeFi sector, the space has begun the year with growth, with a new $150 million ecosystem fund created in January to support DeFi and Cosmos adoption.


NFT Market Recovers as CryptoPunk and Bored Ape Sell for Over $1 Million Each

The Non-Fungible Token (NFT) market continues to see significant growth, as demonstrated by recent sales and trading volume data. Two high-profile NFT sales in the CryptoPunks and Bored Ape Yacht Club projects each sold for over $1 million worth of Ethereum (ETH). These sales, made by prominent NFT collectors and creators, highlight the continued momentum in the NFT industry.

The NFT market saw a resurgence in activity in late 2022 and has continued to see growth, with month-over-month organic trading volume rising slightly in December and then surging in January, according to analytics firm DappRadar. In January, sales volume rose 38% to nearly $947 million and the total number of NFTs sold increased 42% to 9.5 million.

The growth of the NFT market is driven by a number of factors, including the recent launch of Yuga Labs' Dookey Dash web game and Sewer Pass NFTs. According to CryptoSlam, NFT sales on Ethereum alone over the past seven days exceeded $209 million worth of ETH, a nearly 15% increase over the previous week.

NFTs serve as a proof of ownership for digital goods, including artwork, collectibles, and video game items. The NFT market yielded approximately $25 billion worth of organic trading volume in both 2021 and 2022.


Former Coinbase Executive being Convicted for Insider Trading

A former Coinbase product manager, Ishan Wahi, has entered a guilty plea in a New York court on Tuesday, in connection to an insider trading scheme that generated approximately $1.1 million in profits. Wahi, who had previously pleaded not guilty to wire fraud charges in August, entered a guilty plea to two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud brought by the Southern District of New York prosecutors. The former employee of the San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange was accused of sharing confidential information regarding upcoming token listings with his brother and a friend. This marks the first ever insider trading case involving cryptocurrencies. Wahi currently faces additional charges brought by the SEC, which could set a groundbreaking precedent for the crypto industry. Attorneys representing Wahi have filed a motion to dismiss the case, claiming that the traded tokens do not constitute securities.


Mastercard, Goldman Sachs, and Other "TradFi" Giants Redefine Global Finance with Blockchain Technology

Goldman Sachs sign in the foreground with an exchange in the background

Mastercard, Goldman Sachs and other big financial institutions are leveraging blockchain technology to improve customer trust and rewire the global finance sector. Despite the crypto crisis, these companies believe that blockchain technology is the key to building confidence and solving real-life problems. Mastercard has already surpassed 2 billion tokenized transactions per month and is working on tokenizing various assets to track them on multiple public and private blockchains. The company's CEO, Michael Miebach, envisions a world where everything will be tokenized and passed around in a safe fashion. Other financial companies, including BlackRock, JPMorgan and Fidelity, have also become strong proponents of the technology. Despite some big company blockchain projects failing in the past year, leaders in the industry believe that blockchain will scale as long as people trust the data privacy and won't be taken advantage of.

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