In case you missed it, here are the biggest stories in crypto this year
🥂 Wishing you all a Happy New Year from the N+1 Team.
🎉 Bitcoin's Back!
One of the major throughlines of 2023 was Bitcoin’s increasing price action, signaling the end of a long, hard crypto winter. Since this time last year, bitcoin has shot up 154%, from approximately $16,500 to $42,000. The price increase could indicate a seasonal trend, as bitcoin historically jumps in Q4. Anticipation for the next bitcoin halving along with upcoming spot ETFs could also play a role in bitcoin’s bullish price action.
🏦 Banking Collapses [March 8 - April 28]
In the span of 5 days in March, the U.S. experienced three bank closures; Silvergate, Silicon Valley Bank and Signature. A month later, First Republic was seized by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and was later sold to JP Morgan. This crypto crackdown, dubbed “Operation Choke Point 2.0” left a number of crypto companies without access to traditional finance.
🤖 BRC-20 [March 9]
BRC-20 is a new implementation of the Ordinals protocol that allows minting and transferring of fungible tokens on the Bitcoin blockchain. BRC-20 resembles the Ethereum protocol ERC-20 which is the technical standard for fungible tokens created using the Ethereum blockchain. The creation of BRC-20s demonstrated a new use-case for the Bitcoin blockchain and as of December 2023, 263 thousand users have written over 47 million Ordinals on Bitcoin. Read more here.
👏 XRP [July 13]
In July, Judge Analisa Torres granted Ripple a partial win in their case against the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission. The ruling determined that XRP does not constitute a security. The win spiked XRP prices and marked a win for crypto in an ongoing battle with the SEC. The SEC eventually voluntarily dismissed the charges against Ripple. Read more here.
📃 ETFs [October 23]
ETF anticipation dominated headlines in late 2023 as major institutions, like BlackRock and Grayscale, applied for Bitcoin ETFs. Following the announcement of BlackRock’s filing on October 23, bitcoin jumped 13% and has steadily increased ever since. Many speculate the ETF will be released around January 10, which is the deadline for the SEC to accept or deny the applications from ARK Investment and 21Shares. On December 29, asset management groups, including BlackRock and VanEck, submitted updated filings to the SEC. Bloomberg analyst Eric Balchunas discussed the matter on X, saying “they either [got the] green light or they [are] just prepping everything assuming so. That said, we still think many will launch at once”. Read more here.
🇭🇰 CBDC [October 29]
Interest in CBDCs continued throughout 2023. A CBDC is a form of digital cash issued by a country’s central bank. While there are many upsides to CBDCs, there are concerns about trust, surveillance and privacy as the digital cash would allow greater tracking than fiat cash. Notably, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority wrapped up part 1 of a preliminary pilot program for CBDCs in 2023. Read more here.
⚖️ CEOs Found Guilty [November 7 - November 21]
Two crypto magnates made headlines this year for criminal activity and the ensuing trials. After a well-documented and public trial, the now infamous Sam Bankman-Fried was found guilty on 7 counts of fraud and conspiracy. Then, in late November, Binance CEO Changpeng "CZ" Zhao pled guilty to criminal and civil charges which included anti-money laundering and sanctions violations. As part of the settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, CZ is also stepping down as CEO and Binance will pay $4.3 billion in penalties. Read more here.
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