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US Fed begins quantitative tightening, Japan restricts stablecoin issuance and LUNA 2.0 rides a price roller coaster: Hodler’s Digest, May 29-June 4

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US Fed begins quantitative tightening, Japan restricts stablecoin issuance and LUNA 2.0 rides a price roller coaster: Hodler’s Digest, May 29-June 4

Coming every Saturday, Hodler’s Digest will help you track every single important news story that happened this week. The best (and worst) quotes, adoption and regulation highlights, leading coins, predictions and much more — a week on Cointelegraph in one link.

Top Stories This Week

Fed money printer goes into reverse: What does it mean for crypto?

Over the last two years or so, the United States Federal Reserve has flooded the financial system with excess liquidity — benefiting stocks, crypto and other markets as well. Now, the Fed is going in the opposite direction in order to combat inflation. In addition to raising interest rates, the central bank has begun the process of quantitative tightening (QT). It’s not entirely clear how the crypto markets will respond to the Fed’s QT efforts, but the short-term outlook probably isn’t good for risk assets.

CFTC sues Gemini claiming crypto exchange lied in futures contract evaluation

United States crypto exchange Gemini faces action from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) for certain alleged activity dating back to 2017. The CFTC essentially asserts that Gemini acted dishonestly in 2017 during its push to add Bitcoin futures trading contracts to its offerings. The commission claims Gemini was not honest during its evaluation process. 

“Gemini has been a pioneer and proponent of thoughtful regulation since day one,” Gemini told Cointelegraph in response to the lawsuit. “We have an eight year track record of asking for permission, not forgiveness, and always doing the right thing. We look forward to definitively proving this in court.”

City of Shenzhen airdrops 30M in free digital yuan to stimulate consumer spending

Residents of the city of Shenzhen could receive some of China’s central bank digital currency, the e-CNY, as part of an airdrop. Shenzhen is working with one of China’s top food delivery apps to airdrop a total of 30 million e-CNY in a lottery-style giveaway for certain app users. At least 15,000 in-app merchant portals allow the e-CNY as a form of payment. China has stuck to a strict COVID restriction playbook, leading to economic difficulties. The airdrop is intended to spur consumer spending and reinvigorate the economy.

South Korean government becomes an early investor in the Metaverse

South Korea has made several crypto-centric headlines in recent weeks, ranging from its interest in crypto regulation to it now investing in the Metaverse. The country plans on putting roughly $177 million toward the Metaverse as part of its “Digital New Deal” program. The money will go into developing a Metaverse platform touting government services for citizens, as well as toward different Metaverse projects. This investment tags South Korea as a global pioneer in terms of government Metaverse interest.

Japan passes bill to limit stablecoin issuance to banks and trust companies

A new bill from Japan, reportedly going into play in 2023, will only allow licensed banks and registered money transfer agents to issue stablecoins. The regulation aims to provide more protection around stablecoins, given their growing popularity. Japan’s intent to regulate stablecoins comes amid a crypto bear market that has seen declining asset prices and the downfall of a major stablecoin, TerraUSD Classic (USTC).

Winners and Losers

At the end of the week, Bitcoin (BTC) is at $29,540, Ether (ETH) at $1,750 and XRP at $0.38. The total market cap is at $1.21 trillion, according to CoinMarketCap.

Among the biggest 100 cryptocurrencies, the top three altcoin gainers of the week are Waves (WAVES) at 114.63%, Cardano (ADA) at 24.19% and Helium (HNT) at 22.49%.  

The top three altcoin losers of the week are Convex Finance (CVX) at -7.51%, Solana (SOL) at -6.93% and 1inch Network (1INCH) at -3.40%.

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

Most Memorable Quotations

“We could actually imagine the entire global economy running on the blockchain like 30 or 50 years from now.”

Marc Andreessen, co-founder of Andreessen Horowitz (a16z)

“If properly managed, if well managed, I think algorithmic stablecoins in theory should work.”

Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, CEO of Binance

“How will we ever reduce wealth inequality when our regulatory system has financial discrimination at its core? It’s time to remove the ‘Sophisticated Investor’ discrimination rules that advisors use to hide behind and allow everyone access to financial advice and services.”

Ian Love, CEO and founder of Blockchain Assets

“We have changed our position on mining, and also permit the use of cryptocurrency in foreign trade and outside the country.”

Ksenia Yudaeva, first deputy governor for the Central Bank of Russia

“I don’t think we’re living in a single-chain world.”

Brad Garlinghouse, CEO of Ripple Labs

“There are too many general-purpose blockchains that are effectively competing with Ethereum (and one another) in a race to the bottom on fees. Only so many of them can survive.”

Andrew Levine, CEO of Koinos Group

Prediction of the Week 

Bitcoin may hit $14K in 2022 but buying BTC now ‘as good as it gets:’ Analyst

Although Bitcoin charts saw some positive moves during the first part of this week to close out May, June brought back sub-$30,000 price action, based on Cointelegraph’s BTC price index.  

Using former BTC price data as a backdrop in line with Bitcoin’s halving cycle (roughly four years), pseudonymous Twitter user and CryptoQuant contributor Venturefounder suggested the asset could see a macro price bottom in the next half-year. As part of a tweet thread, the analyst said Bitcoin could reach a depth between $14,000 and $21,000. The analysis included parallels to 2018, the focal year of the last crypto bear market. Price action currently lines up with historical Bitcoin cycles.

FUD of the Week 

Investors dumping on Terra as LUNA 2 tanks 70% in two days

In the aftermath of the Terra ecosystem collapse, Terra 2.0 and its related LUNA 2.0 asset launched on May 28, with the price of token falling sharply after the unveiling. Terraform Labs CEO Do Kwon’s revival plan included distributing LUNA 2.0 to certain participants of the old Terra ecosystem. Roughly a day later, Binance announced that it had completed its first airdrop of the new LUNA tokens to certain users. Between the time of Cointelegraph’s Monday article (linked above), and the writing of the Binance airdrop article on Tuesday, LUNA 2.0 rose in price from $5.71 to $9.25.

New York State Senate passes Bitcoin mining moratorium

Additional proof-of-work (PoW) mining operations in New York could be put on hold for a two-year period, pending approval from the state’s governor. A bill temporarily banning new PoW mining outfits, as well as license renewal of current players, was passed by the New York State Senate. One exception to the bill, however, is the allowance of fresh PoW mining players that only use renewable energy for their work.

Former product manager at OpenSea charged with insider trading

Former OpenSea employee Nathaniel Chastain has been charged with insider trading, wire fraud and money laundering. During his time as product manager for the NFT exchange, Chastain allegedly traded numerous NFTs based on non-public knowledge. Claims include that his job allowed him to influence which NFTs the platform’s main page featured, which he then used to his personal advantage. Chastain quit his post at OpenSea after the entity requested his exit as a result of discovering the foul play, according to OpenSea. The development raises questions as to NFTs possibly being tagged as securities.

Best Cointelegraph Features

You can now clone NFTs as ‘Mimics’: Here’s what that means

“I think I just broke the NFT market.”

Fail better: Scott Melker on defying the odds with crypto trading

“It’s a math game of taking small losses and big wins.”

Anonymous culture in crypto may be losing its relevance

Although anonymous teams have built some of the leading infrastructure in crypto, many new participants in the ecosystem are using their real identities.

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Bitcoin Miner Sell-Offs Could Keep Prices Low, Says JP Morgan

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Bitcoin Miner Sell-Offs Could Keep Prices Low, Says JP Morgan

Strategists at JPMorgan Chase & Co. believe the current Bitcoin sell-off by miners could make it difficult for the price of the asset to bounce back, especially if the trend continues.

In a note released yesterday, they pointed out that publicly listed Bitcoin miners account for 20% of all reported Bitcoin sales in May and June. It’s likely that private miners are also selling at the same rate or even higher, given that they have limited access to the capital markets.

The massive sell-off is a sharp turn in the strategy that has mostly been about holding block rewards until the market conditions get better. But the drop in Bitcoin prices and its effect on miners’ profitability means many are now struggling to meet operating costs.

According to the strategists,

Offloading of Bitcoins by miners, in order to meet ongoing costs or to deliver, could continue into Q3 if their profitability fails to improve.

Already, it has likely “weighed on prices in May and June, though there is a risk that this pressure could continue.”

However, JP Morgan strategists point out that it’s not all gloomy. One silver lining is a drop in the cost of mining Bitcoin from around $18k – $20k earlier in the year to $15k this month. This is due to the drop in hash rate and mining difficulty over the past two weeks.

Meanwhile, the cost of production varies based on the size of the miner. According to Arcane Crypto, large miners spend around $8,000 to produce one Bitcoin. Meanwhile, Securitize Capital says the cost of production might be over $20k for some miners after adding overhead costs and interest rates.

Bitcoin Price 69% Away From ATH

Bitcoin price has declined by more than half compared to its value at the beginning of the year. It’s also down 69% from its all-time high as it hovers around the low 20k range in the last few weeks.

Several factors have pushed the crypto markets over the edge, including the crash of Terra’s ecosystem and the near-insolvency of crypto firms such as Celsius and 3AC. But the Fed hike in interest rates has been the primary factor behind the drop.

Almost every other niche in the space, like non-fungible tokens and decentralized finance, has reported losses too. With most miners also having debt obligations, selling their Bitcoin stash appears as the best course of action to stay afloat.

Disclaimer

All the information contained on our website is published in good faith and for general information purposes only. Any action the reader takes upon the information found on our website is strictly at their own risk.

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Bitcoin Energy Consumption Declines as Miners Grapple With Falling Revenue

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Bitcoin Energy Consumption Declines as Miners Grapple With Falling Revenue

Bitcoin mining is no longer consuming as much energy as before, according to a Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index report, which shows a 25% decline in energy use since the start of the month.

Per the index, the current energy consumption of Bitcoin is 10.65 gigawatts, significantly lower than the 14.34-gigawatt on June 6. This means its annualized consumption is at 93.33 terawatt-hours, putting it below countries like Argentina and Norway in energy consumption.

At its peak, the BTC network needed 16.09 GW of power. The drop in the consumption from its record high of 150 terawatt-hours in May is likely due to the drop in mining hash rate. 

Bitcoin hash rate is the computing power needed to create a block on the Bitcoin network and has dropped to 199.225 exahash per second (EH/s) over the last two weeks. This came after the mining difficulty reached a record high of 231.428 EH/s on June 13. It has now dropped by almost 14% since then.

The index estimates the energy consumption by using a profitability threshold using “different types of mining equipment as the starting point.” 

With Bitcoin prices nosediving to below $20,000 this month, some miners have also gone offline as mining proved less profitable. This explains the consecutive drop in the consumption and hash rate.

Miners are Selling Their Bitcoin Holdings

Additionally, the drop in the price of Bitcoin has left several miners in a lurch as they struggle to sustain their operations. A recent report by Arcane research shows that publicly traded Bitcoin miners sold all the coins they mined in May.

This is usually against the strategy of most miners, which is to hold their Bitcoin for better market conditions. But with profitability nosediving and many miners struggling to generate a positive cash flow, they are selling their holdings. 

According to the report, many miners sold their Bitcoin to cover operational expenses and pay off debts. One of such is Bitfarms which decided to sell 3000 Bitcoin for $63 million to improve corporate liquidity.

Energy consumption of Bitcoin mining has been one of the major criticisms of the network and cryptocurrency industry. But recent research by Michel Khazzaka reveals that the traditional banking sector uses 56% more energy.

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All the information contained on our website is published in good faith and for general information purposes only. Any action the reader takes upon the information found on our website is strictly at their own risk.

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Coinbase to Offer Nano Bitcoin Futures Contracts via Third Party Brokerages

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Coinbase to Offer Nano Bitcoin Futures Contracts via Third Party Brokerages

Coinbase will list a derivatives product called the nano futures contract on Monday.

This will be the first product listed on the Coinbase Derivatives Exchange, offering investors the opportunity to buy a contract linked to the price of one-hundredth of a bitcoin. Customers can purchase the Nano futures contract through third-party brokerages. Customers will not be able to buy the nano futures contract from Coinbase directly until the exchange receives a license to operate as a futures commission merchant. The exchange first applied for the license on Sept. 16, 2021.

U.S. customers have a healthy appetite for crypto derivatives

Coinbase floated the idea of bringing derivatives to its U.S. customer base after purchasing derivatives exchange FairX in January this year.

Americans have long been trading derivative products on foreign exchanges, sinking their teeth into high-leverage products that U.S. exchanges have lacked, indicted by the volume of crypto derivative trades in December 2021 surpassing that of spot trading. Binance alone recorded $52.5 billion in derivative trade volume during the 24 hours ending Friday afternoon, compared to $12.7 billion in spot products. Coinbase enjoyed $1.7 million in spot trading during the same period.

It’s worth bearing in mind that the new nano futures contract will not offer leverage-type bets that drive volume on exchanges like Binance.

Challenges Coinbase faces

A report by Barron’s suggests that it would take a long time for derivatives products to generate significant income for the company.

The new Coinbase product will enter a market of established crypto derivative products, while the company battles cash flow problems.

In March, the CME Group announced micro futures contracts linked to one-tenth of the price of bitcoin and Ethereum.

To add pressure, Moody’s Investors Services recently reduced Coinbase’s guaranteed senior unsecured notes from Ba2 to Ba1, relegating its corporate debt to “junk” status, with the potential for future downgrades. Ba ratings are assigned by Moody’s to credit obligations containing speculative components, considered to be a serious credit risk. Moody’s cited Coinbase’s reduced revenue and cash flow due to the current crypto market downturn as reasons for the downgrade. Coinbase’s recent employee layoff did not count in its favor, with the rating agency still seeing threats to the company’s profitability.

Dan Dolev, a senior analyst at Mizuho, believes that the new product does not address the central issue of competitors offering zero trading fees, which would severely affect revenue if Coinbase were to compete.

Coinbase’s shares fell precipitously on May 3, 2022, from $130.15 to $62.71 at market close on Friday.

What do you think about this subject? Write to us and tell us!

Disclaimer

All the information contained on our website is published in good faith and for general information purposes only. Any action the reader takes upon the information found on our website is strictly at their own risk.

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