Welcome to this edition of the AsicZ Weekly Wednesday Roundup, your go-to source for the latest news and updates from the dynamic cryptoverse. This week, we have an exciting lineup of developments that are shaping the industry. We explore Standard Chartered’s revised Bitcoin forecast, Gemini’s ongoing legal battle for fund recovery, and the intriguing rebuttal from Arkham CEO against claims of a controversial “snitch-to-earn” program. We’ll also dig into the Department of Justice’s arrest of an engineer involved in a significant $9 million crypto theft, explore the potential impact of a BlackRock Bitcoin ETF on the market, and uncover the groundbreaking integration of AI and Bitcoin made possible by Lightning Labs. And we’ll round things off with a closer look at Cboe’s revised ETF filings, now including Coinbase surveillance agreements.
Standard Chartered has raised its Bitcoin forecast, predicting that the leading crypto could reach $50,000 this year and $120,000 by the end of 2024. The bank attributes the price increase to increased profitability for miners, which may encourage them to hoard more of the supply, reducing the net supply and pushing prices higher. Standard Chartered previously forecasted $100,000 per Bitcoin by the end of 2024. The rationale behind the new prediction is that miners would need to sell fewer coins to cover their costs, resulting in a reduction in net supply. While predictions of high valuations have been common during rallies, Standard Chartered’s outlook reflects growing optimism in Bitcoin.
Arkham CEO Miguel Morel has denied allegations that the blockchain intelligence platform’s “Intel Exchange” is a “snitch-to-earn” program. Morel clarified that the platform is designed to identify scammers and hackers in the crypto space rather than encourage users to snitch on others. He emphasized that public blockchains are not ideal for keeping private information private and stated that Arkham would control the data on its platform. Morel also addressed concerns about false accusations and assured that the exchange would be properly regulated and vetted. The company faced criticism this week for leaking user emails through its referral program.
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has arrested Shakeeb Ahmed, a security engineer, on charges of wire fraud and money laundering for allegedly stealing $9 million worth of crypto from an undisclosed decentralized exchange (DEX). Ahmed is accused of exploiting a vulnerability in the DEX’s smart contracts to generate fake pricing data and withdraw inflated fees. The DEX operates on the Solana blockchain, and Ahmed conducted multiple flash loan attacks, moving the funds across blockchains and converting them into different coins in an attempt to launder the stolen assets. The indictment and details align with last year’s theft from Crema Finance, a Solana-based DEX. Ahmed offered to return most of the funds to the DEX if developers refrained from involving law enforcement.
Bloomberg ETF analyst Eric Balchunas suggests that the approval of a Bitcoin spot exchange-traded fund (ETF) by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission could unlock $30 trillion worth of wealth. This is the estimated amount of assets controlled by financial advisors in the U.S. who are interested in gaining exposure to Bitcoin through a regulated ETF. Balchunas highlights that ETFs are the preferred investment format for many financial advisors and the involvement of BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, has significantly increased the chances of a Bitcoin spot ETF approval from 1% to 50%. The filing by BlackRock has spurred optimism in the market, leading other major firms to follow suit and file their own applications for a Bitcoin ETF.
Gemini, a leading crypto exchange, has filed a lawsuit against Digital Currency Group (DCG) and its chief Barry Silbert, alleging unpaid debts and fraud. The lawsuit comes after Gemini’s lending partner Genesis, a DCG unit, faced financial difficulties, resulting in the suspension of withdrawals from Gemini’s Earn program. Gemini co-founder Cameron Winklevoss had previously issued an ultimatum to DCG to repay the funds owed to Earn customers. The lawsuit accuses DCG and Silbert of misrepresenting Genesis’ financial standing and engaging in a fraudulent scheme. DCG responded to the lawsuit, calling it defamatory and false. Gemini’s complaint points to misleading representations regarding Genesis’ financial health, including the treatment of a $1.1 billion intercompany promissory note. The outcome of the lawsuit will determine the recovery of losses and damages for Gemini and its customers.
Lightning Labs, a company working on the Bitcoin-based Lightning Network, has released new developer tools that allow Artificial Intelligence (AI) applications and Large Language Models (LLMs) like ChatGPT to hold, send, and receive Bitcoin via the Lightning Network. The tools, built on the L402 protocol, address the challenge of integrating an internet-native payment mechanism into AI models. With the L402-enabled tools, AI applications can now monetize access to software applications, sell and pay for API queries, and make Bitcoin payments on-chain and on the Lightning Network. This development expands the use-cases of Bitcoin and the Lightning Network while making AI infrastructure more accessible. The engineers at Lightning Labs believe that combining open models with an open payment system will ultimately lead to the success of open-source solutions.
Exchange operator Cboe Global Markets has amended five spot Bitcoin ETF applications to include a surveillance-sharing agreement (SSA) with Coinbase. The move comes in response to recommendations by the SEC to have comprehensive surveillance-sharing agreements with regulated markets to prevent fraudulent conduct and protect investors. Cboe reached an agreement with Coinbase to enter into the SSAs, which were settled on June 21. The amended filings for the ETFs from Invesco, VanEck, WisdomTree, Fidelity, and the joint fund by ARK Invest and 21Shares aim to meet the SEC’s standards and enhance the chances of approval. Meanwhile, Coinbase is also facing a lawsuit from the SEC over alleged unregistered securities offerings.
As we conclude this Weekly Wednesday Roundup, we hope you found our coverage of news and developments in the cryptoverse insightful and engaging. At AsicZ, we are committed to providing you with the knowledge and tools you need to navigate the landscape successfully.
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