Weekly Wednesday Roundup – September 13th, 2023

Welcome back to AsicZ’s Weekly Wednesday Roundup! As we journey through September, the crypto world is abuzz with transformative events and revelations. This week, we’re delving into a myriad of topics, from the debated influence of FTX on the crypto market’s recent tremors to the intriguing dynamics of the NFT space. We’ll also explore Nigeria’s proactive stance on Bitcoin mining, PayPal’s strategic alliance with MetaMask, and the potential of ZK-Rollups in revolutionizing Bitcoin’s scalability. Not to be missed is the intriguing tale of how AI outperformed traditional code audits, spotlighting a vulnerability in the Banana Gun contract. So, buckle up as we traverse these captivating narratives, shedding light on the week’s most consequential crypto developments.

  1. Fear of FTX Spurred Crypto Crash is Overblown
    The crypto market recently experienced a downturn, with many attributing the decline to concerns over FTX potentially offloading its substantial $3.4 billion crypto holdings. However, analysts are suggesting that the market’s reaction might be an overestimation of FTX’s influence. David Lawant, head of research at FalconX, mentioned that the actual selling pressure from FTX could be much less than anticipated, as part of FTX’s digital assets are venture investments with lockups that prevent immediate selling. Furthermore, there are expected limitations to the asset sales, which could mitigate the market impact. Jeff Dorman, CIO at digital asset investment firm Arca, also emphasized that the market’s initial reaction might have been an overreaction. Despite the initial panic, the market has since rebounded, with Bitcoin returning to levels seen before the Monday sell-off. However, other potential sell-side pressures are on the horizon, including the selling off of BTC related to the Silk Road by U.S. authorities and potential asset reclaims from the Mt. Gox hack victims. Read more
  2. Are NFT Markets in a Death Spiral or Ready for a Resurgence?
    The NFT market, which saw a meteoric rise in 2021, has since experienced a significant downturn. Current data from analytics platform NFTGo indicates a decline in the NFT market cap, with a 40.59% drop when valued in Ether and a 41.16% drop in U.S. dollars over the past year. Despite this, experts like Arno Bauer from BNB Chain believe that the NFT market is showing promising signs of innovation and creativity. He suggests that the future of NFTs lies in their growing functionality and utility. Beyond the art world, where NFTs have fetched millions, there’s potential for NFTs to represent real-world assets like property and unique physical goods. Jason Bailey, CEO of ClubNFT, is optimistic about NFTs going mainstream in the future, emphasizing that the digital ownership trend is unstoppable. However, he also points out that the current complexity surrounding NFTs needs to be addressed for broader adoption. Andy Ku, CEO of Altava Group, believes that meaningful NFT projects offering tangible benefits could drive the overall market value up, especially if they provide value beyond just digital art. Read more
  3. 2023 Electricity Act in Nigeria: Mining Opportunities
    Nigeria’s recent partial deregulation of energy production, aimed at incentivizing renewable energy, presents a significant opportunity for Bitcoin miners. The country boasts vast untapped potential carbon-emission-free energy sources, including hydroelectric power plants, solar, wind, and nuclear options. The 2023 Electricity Act is set to revolutionize Nigeria’s energy sector, potentially addressing the nation’s inflationary crisis. The act promotes Bitcoin mining using renewable energy sources, which now account for over 52% of Bitcoin mining energy. Companies like Gridless Compute, Big Block Green Services, and TrojanMining have already established mining operations powered by renewable energy in various African countries. The Nigerian regulatory approach has been pivotal, with the new act mandating electricity generation companies to either produce power from renewable sources or purchase power generated from such sources. This move aims to stimulate investments in the renewable energy sector. Furthermore, according to the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), individuals and firms can generate up to 1 megawatt (MW) of electricity without a license, providing ample opportunity for Bitcoin mining. Read more
  4. PayPal Enables Users to Sell Crypto via MetaMask
    PayPal, the global payment giant, is furthering its foray into the digital asset domain by unveiling new methods for crypto transactions. On September 11th, the company introduced new on- and off-ramps for Web3 payments. This move allows users in the United States to convert their digital assets directly into U.S. dollars, which will then be added to their PayPal balance. This off-ramp feature is now accessible to wallets, decentralized applications, and nonfungible token marketplaces, with MetaMask being one of the first platforms to integrate this service. PayPal’s aim with these features is to bolster the buying and selling of multiple cryptocurrencies in the U.S. By integrating these services, Web3 merchants can potentially expand their user base, tapping into PayPal’s vast network and benefiting from its robust security measures and tools for fraud management. Read more
  5. $1.5 Trillion Asset Manager Franklin Templeton Files for US Bitcoin ETF
    Franklin Templeton, a global investment giant managing approximately $1.5 trillion in assets, has officially filed a regulatory Form S-1 with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) seeking approval for a spot Bitcoin ETF. This move is seen as a significant step in legitimizing Bitcoin within the realm of institutional finance. The proposed ETF, named the Franklin Templeton Digital Asset Trust, aims to track the performance of Bitcoin, providing investors with a regulated and more accessible means to gain exposure to the leading digital asset. The filing emphasizes the benefits of a Bitcoin ETF, including improved liquidity, ease of trading, and eliminating the need for direct cryptocurrency management, which can be complex and daunting for many investors. However, the SEC’s approval process is stringent, focusing on robust investor protections and market surveillance. Read more
  6. Gary Gensler Confirms SEC AI Financial Surveillance
    During a Senate oversight hearing on September 12th, Gary Gensler, the Chair of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), confirmed that the agency is actively utilizing artificial intelligence (AI) technologies to monitor the financial sector for potential signs of fraud and manipulation. This revelation came in response to a query from Senator Catherine Cortez Masto. Gensler had previously hinted at the SEC’s interest in AI during a public speech at the National Press Club on July 17th, where he discussed the potential benefits of integrating AI technologies into the SEC’s surveillance mechanisms. However, this was the first public acknowledgment of the agency’s explicit use of AI. Gensler emphasized that AI is already being used in market surveillance and enforcement actions to detect patterns in the market. He also highlighted the SEC’s request for increased funding in 2024 to bolster their technology budget, particularly for emerging technologies. Read more
  7. Bull Bitcoin Now Allows Costa Ricans to Buy BTC with Country’s Primary Payment System
    Bitcoin-only exchange, Bull Bitcoin, has expanded its services in Costa Rica, allowing both locals and foreigners to buy and sell Bitcoin using SINPE Movil, the nation’s primary fiat payment system. This initiative, in collaboration with the Bitcoin Jungle project, simplifies the process of converting Costa Rican colones to BTC and vice versa. Bull Bitcoin is the first Bitcoin exchange in Costa Rica to provide seamless transactions using SINPE Movil, a payment network used by over 90% of Costa Rican consumers. This integration offers residents and visitors the convenience of converting the local currency to Bitcoin and back without the complexities of international bank transfers or high conversion fees. The partnership with Bitcoin Jungle, which has been pivotal in onboarding local merchants into the Bitcoin ecosystem, addresses a significant challenge faced by merchants: the ability to easily convert Bitcoin to local currency. With Bull Bitcoin’s integration, merchants can now confidently accept Bitcoin payments, knowing they can convert their holdings to fiat when needed. This collaboration not only streamlines financial transactions in Costa Rica but also positions the nation as a global Bitcoin hub. Read more
  8. BinanceUS CEO Exits as Crypto Exchange Cuts 13% of Workforce
    Binance.US, a major crypto exchange, is undergoing significant organizational changes. The company’s CEO, Brian Shroder, has stepped down, and the exchange has also reduced its workforce by a third. This comes after a challenging year for crypto exchanges in the U.S., with Binance.US facing particular scrutiny. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had previously sued the company in June, alleging violations of securities laws. This legal action built upon earlier accusations from another U.S. regulatory body. Despite these challenges, Binance.US remains committed to its mission. The company stated that the measures taken would provide them with over seven years of financial stability. They emphasized their dedication to serving customers as a crypto-only exchange and expressed concerns about the SEC’s aggressive stance towards the crypto industry, highlighting the real-world implications for American jobs and innovation. Read more
  9. Saudi Arabia Looks to Blockchain, Gaming, and Web3 to Diversify Economy
    Saudi Arabia is intensifying its efforts towards economic diversification with a keen focus on blockchain gaming and Web3 technologies. As part of its Vision 2030 strategy, the kingdom is moving away from its traditional reliance on oil and exploring emerging tech sectors. The country has shown significant interest in gaming and Web3, with partnerships with entities like The Sandbox and Animoca Brands. Animoca Brands co-founder, Yat Siu, mentioned that Saudi Arabia is deeply interested in Web3 and sees blockchain gaming as the future of the gaming industry. The nation’s young and tech-savvy population has been a driving force behind the growth of the Middle East’s gaming market. Saudi Arabia represents 45% of the gaming sector in the region, with a value exceeding $1.8 billion. The country’s Public Investment Fund has also invested $38 billion in the sector, aiming to establish Saudi Arabia as a global gaming hub. While the government recognizes the potential of Web3, there’s still a lack of clarity regarding cryptocurrency regulations. However, the kingdom is actively exploring other markets and seeking best practices to position itself at the forefront of technological advancements. Read more
  10. ZK-Rollups Are Coming to Bitcoin: Here’s All You Need to Know
    ZK-Rollups, a Layer 2 scaling solution, are set to be introduced to Bitcoin, promising enhanced scalability and transaction efficiency. This technology aims to bundle multiple transactions into a single proof, which can be verified quickly, ensuring faster transaction speeds without compromising on security. The integration of ZK-Rollups could address some of Bitcoin’s long-standing scalability issues, potentially reducing transaction fees and increasing throughput. As the crypto community eagerly anticipates this development, it’s essential to understand its implications. While ZK-Rollups have been successfully implemented in Ethereum, bringing them to Bitcoin presents unique challenges and opportunities. This advancement could further solidify Bitcoin’s position as the leading digital asset, ensuring it remains relevant and adaptable in an ever-evolving digital landscape. Read more
  11. Banana Gun: Failed Contract Passed Audits, but ChatGPT Found the Bug in Seconds
    The recent vulnerability discovered in the Banana Gun contract has underscored the importance of thorough code audits in the crypto space. Traditional audits failed to identify a critical bug in the contract. However, ChatGPT, an AI model, detected the vulnerability in mere seconds. This incident has sparked discussions about the potential of AI in enhancing security protocols in the blockchain and crypto sectors. While human audits remain crucial, the integration of AI tools can provide an additional layer of scrutiny, ensuring that smart contracts and other blockchain-based applications are free from potentially catastrophic bugs. The Banana Gun incident serves as a reminder of the complexities of blockchain code and the need for continuous innovation in security measures. Read more

As we conclude this edition of the Weekly Wednesday Roundup, it’s clear that the blockchain industry is as vibrant and dynamic as ever. Each story we’ve explored today not only informs us of the current state of affairs but also hints at the trajectory of this ever-evolving industry.

For those who are passionate about staying updated and navigating the crypto waters with confidence, AsicZ is your steadfast companion. Our blog is dedicated to providing you with deep dives and insights, ensuring you’re always a step ahead. And for those venturing into the realm of mining or those seasoned in the craft, AsicZ.com stands ready to equip you with a wide range of mining hardware and our industry leading MaaS (Mining as a Service). With power rates under .03/kWh that keep you profitable under most market conditions, we’re here to ensure your mining endeavors are fruitful. Stay tuned for more illuminating articles, and as always, may your miners operate at their peak!


Weekly Wednesday Roundup – September 13th, 2023