It is the last week of 2023, and plenty has happened in the crypto market to round out the year. For one, India has announced plans to ban the URLs of nine crypto exchanges, including Binance and Kraken, over claims that they did not comply with the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
Here are the major crypto stories of the week:
India to Block URLs of Binance and Kraken
India wants to block the URLs of nine crypto exchanges, including Binance, Kraken, Huobi, Kucoin, Bittrex, Gate.io, Bitstamp, Bitfinex, and MEXC Global, after claiming that the virtual asset service providers (VASP) were “operating illegally” and did not comply with the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
India to block URLs of Kraken, Binance, and seven other crypto firms (Blockworks)
Mt. Gox Creditors Start Receiving Payments
Creditors of now-defunct crypto exchange Mt. Gox have reported receiving fiat repayments for their trapped Bitcoin on the social media platform Reddit. Per the reports, Mt. Gox has begun sending Japanese Yen-denominated refunds to users through PayPal.
Mt. Gox Creditors Report Receiving Compensation Payments via PayPal in Japanese Yen (Cryptonews.com)
Cathie Wood’s Ark Invest Dumps GBTC, Buys BITO
Cathie Wood’s ARK Invest has dumped all of its Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) holdings, instead buying 4.3 million shares of ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF (BITO). The ProShares stake is valued at $9.2 million based on closing prices.
Cathie Wood’s ARK Invests in ProShares Bitcoin ETF After Dumping Grayscale Holdings (CoinDesk)
Crypto Market Adds $800 Billion in 2023
In 2023, the global value of cryptocurrencies surged by more than $800 billion despite growing regulatory scrutiny and a series of scandals and bankruptcies. The price of Bitcoin (BTC), the most popular and valuable cryptocurrency, more than doubled, while Ethereum (ETH) saw an 88% price surge this year.
Cryptocurrencies gain more than half a trillion in value despite controversies (The Telegraph)
Crypto Options Trading Volume Reaches Record High
Trading volume for Bitcoin options has reached an all-time high. Options with a notional value of $11 billion expiring Friday are comprised of $7.7 billion in Bitcoin contracts and $3.5 billion in Ether options. Most outstanding contracts are calls, which provide the right, but not the obligation, to buy Bitcoin at a set price.
Crypto Options Trading Volume Hits Record as ETF Deadline Nears (Bloomberg)
Hackers Stole $2 Billion in 2023
Hackers stole around 2 billion dollars in crypto across dozens of cyberattacks and thefts in 2023. Among the worst crypto thefts of the year include the hack against Euler Finance, in which hackers stole almost $200 million. Other significant hacks include Multichain ($126 million), BonqDAO ($120 million), Poloniex ($114 million), and Atomic Wallet ($100 million).
Hackers stole $2 billion in crypto in 2023; data shows (TechCrunch)
Grayscale Chair Barry Silbert Resigns
Barry Silbert has resigned as chairman of the board of Grayscale Investments. Another Grayscale board member, Mark Murphy, has joined Silbert in stepping down from the board. Mark Shifke, DCG’s current CFO, will replace Silbert as Grayscale’s chairman.
Barry Silbert Out as Grayscale Chairman While Bitcoin ETF Decision Looms (Decrypt)
Judge Rules Do Kwon Violated Law
A federal judge has ruled that cryptocurrency entrepreneur Do Kwon and his company Terraform Labs violated US law by failing to register two digital currencies that collapsed in 2022. Rakoff also denied summary judgment to both sides on the SEC’s fraud claims, which will proceed toward a scheduled Jan. 29, 2024 trial.
Judge sides with US SEC says Terraform Labs crypto founder Do Kwon violated the law (Reuters)
Hong Kong Prepares for Retail Access to Spot Bitcoin ETFs
Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) is prepared to authorize funds with direct exposure to virtual assets, including spot virtual asset ETFs. Hong Kong previously only allowed retail participation in cryptocurrency futures ETFs, which hold virtual-asset futures contracts, instead of direct investments in crypto tokens at their spot prices.
Hong Kong prepares for retail access to spot cryptocurrency exchange-traded funds, boosting city’s virtual-asset hub ambitions (SCMP)
India has announced plans to ban the URLs of nine prominent crypto exchanges, including Binance and Kraken, citing the alleged failure of these exchanges to adhere to the regulations outlined in the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. On a more positive note, some creditors of the infamous Mt. Gox exchange have reported receiving fiat repayments through PayPal, and the move to Bitcoin ETFs seems closer by the week.