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
The crypto markets were showing signs of recovery during the week as the U.S. Federal Reserve committed to carrying on its spending habits, while Chinese real estate giant Evergrande was able to strike deals with bondholders to avoid default on its hefty loan obligations.
Evergrande’s potential default on $305 billion worth of debt has essentially been a ticking time bomb that has loomed over the global financial market, with some asserting that this is China’s Lehman Brothers moment. However, the firm is safe for the immediate term, and the news coincided with an 11.3% bump in Bitcoin’s (BTC) price on Tuesday.
The spike in price also followed comments from Fed Chairman Jerome Powell, who explained that the central bank plans to continue its ridiculous level of monthly bond purchases for the foreseeable future. Both reports suggest that FUD related to Evergrande and the Fed’s spending habits can now be shelved for a later date.
Speaking of FUD, the crypto market recovery appears to be short-lived as old news regarding China was suddenly picked up on social media, sparking an instant price crash across the crypto market.
At the time of writing, Bitcoin is down 2.7%, Ether (ETH) is down 6.4%, and FUD is up 100%. This knee-jerk reaction was the result of a memo from the People’s Bank of China, or PBOC, that criminalized practically all crypto activity except possession.
Chinese-language commentators noted, however, that the PBOC released the updated guidance on Sept. 15 but posted it online on Friday.
It seems odd that the market has responded to China banning crypto again, as it’s not like the local government has done anything to foster excitement about digital assets in the country of late. At this stage, they might as well get it over with and ban possession too.
On Thursday, reports surfaced that the Biden administration intended to nominate Kazakhstani-American attorney, academic, and former policy advisor Saule Omarova to head the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, or OCC.
Omarova is a crypto critic who is also not so fond of the big banks, having previously vowed to “end banking as we know it.” Currently employed as a law professor at Cornell Law School, she is expected to clamp down on crypto with tighter regulation, as she thinks the industry threatens the stability of the economy.
If confirmed, bankers and crypto proponents alike may be in for some hairy moments as Omarova single-handedly works to tear down both sectors under the guise of protecting the economy.
To cleanse the palate, there was bullish news in the NFT sector this week as two firms known for tokenized sports collectible projects raised a combined $930 million in funding.
French-based soccer trading card NFT game developer Sorare closed a $680 million Series B funding round led by SoftBank at a valuation of $4.3 billion. Dapper Labs, the team behind the Flow blockchain and NBA Top Shot, also announced a $250 million funding round led by tech-focused hedge fund Coatue.
Sorare and Dapper Labs both outlined plans to expand their tokenized collectible model beyond soccer and basketball, respectively, along with scaling up their current widely popular NFT projects. The combined total of $930 million marks a significant bet on the tokenized sports sector at a time when the wider NFT market faces declining sales volume and floor prices.
John Cena, the WWE hall-of-famer known for his braggadocious “you can’t see me” catchphrase, recently saw limited sales during his foray into nonfungibles.
The professional wrestler said that fans only purchased 7.4% of his WWE NFTs that were dropped last month, labelling the sale a “catastrophic failure” and citing the price point for the gold-tier NFT package as being too high at $1,000.
There were 500 gold tier NFTs offered in total, which were part of a package with physical collectibles, including a hat, shirt, wristbands, belt, towel, and autographed picture.
“I talk a lot about failure — this idea failed,” said Cena. “Myself and the folks in the WWE thought $1,000 was a fair price point. We were wrong. We were absolutely wrong.”
Winners and Losers
At the end of the week, Bitcoin is at $42,223, Ether at $2,905 and XRP at $0.93. The total market cap is at $1.88 trillion, according to CoinMarketCap.
Among the biggest 100 cryptocurrencies, the top three altcoin gainers of the week are Celo (CELO) at 49.84%, Celer Network (CELR) at 34.97% and Cosmos (ATOM) at 17.34%.
The top three altcoin losers of the week are Huobi Token (HT) at -32.21%, SushiSwap (SUSHI) at -28% and EOS (EOS) at -26.22%.
For more info on crypto prices, make sure to read Cointelegraph’s market analysis.
Most Memorable Quotations
“We have absolutely no intention of embracing cryptocurrencies. […] On the contrary, we have a separate war, a separate fight against them. We would never lend support to [cryptocurrencies], because we will move forward with our own currency that has its own identity.”
Tayyip Erdoğan, president of Turkey
“A Matisse painting can run $100 million because a small amount of people decide they’re worth $100 million. Over 150 million people around the world that have decided Bitcoin is worth something. That’s enough for me.”
Mike Novogratz, CEO of Galaxy Digital
“Stablecoins are almost acting like poker chips at the casino right now.”
Gary Gensler, chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
“Ninety-nine percent is about being in the right circle, having the right information at the right time. In the NFT space, you live with this constant frustration that you have missed a chance to make $1 billion.”
Gauthier Zuppinger, chief operating officer of Nonfungible.com on NFT investing
“I know the crypto lovers never want to hear me say ‘sell,’ but if you’ve got a big gain as I did, well, I’m begging you to. Don’t let it become a loss; sell some. Stay long the rest, then let’s wait and see if China changes its attitude toward an Evergrande bailout.”
Jim Cramer, host of Mad Money on CNBC
“I think we should always be open-minded and, as such, I’m very interested in all new creations and expressions from the art world. Metaverses will emerge, but I still believe physical art will always reserve a very special place in everyone’s collection.”
Elio D’Anna, founder of HOFA
“The ultimate test we will apply when assessing a central bank digital currency and other digital innovations is, ‘Are there clear and tangible benefits that outweigh any cost and risks?’”
Jerome Powell, chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve
“I’m uncomfortable with any non-physical currency being the only currency.”
LordPimpernel, Texan and Redditor
Prediction of the Week
A Bitcoin analyst by the name of Bit Harington on Twitter recently posted a chart suggesting a possible upcoming price rally for BTC, if history repeats itself.
Harington drew levels on top of a Bitcoin price chart from Buy Bitcoin Worldwide and Twitter user PlanB. Harington’s levels essentially showed Bitcoin price resistance levels following Bitcoin’s 2012 and 2016 halvings. On both occasions, price rejected off the resistance levels, gathered steam, and then broke through the levels later, leading to significant rallies.
Following those price rallies, Bitcoin then eventually returned to those breakout levels, finding them as support. Harington listed the new resistance level as $60,000 on their chart. So far, the chart shows Bitcoin rejecting off that level, subsequently finding support and looking upward back toward the resistance level.
Harington noted that BTC jumped above the two previous resistance levels by a factor of about six each time. Analyst Michaël van de Poppe took a peek at the chart, crunched some numbers, and determined that BTC could reach up near $250,000 to $350,000, followed by a drop back down near $65,000 if BTC reacts similarly to the past.
This week, however, Bitcoin faced a number of downward price moves and comments indicating future bearish expectations for crypto surfaced.
FUD of the Week
According to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the country is at war with cryptocurrency but quite fond of blockchain tech.
Erdoğan hosted a Q&A event in Mersin, Turkey with naive youth from across the country who had no idea that crypto was posing a threat to their sovereignty. When asked for his opinions on cryptocurrencies, and whether the central bank would embrace crypto, Erdoğan didn’t mince his words when he said, “We have absolutely no intention of embracing cryptocurrencies.”
“On the contrary, we have a separate war, a separate fight against them. We would never lend support to [cryptocurrencies], because we will move forward with our own currency that has its own identity,” he added.
The world’s biggest crypto exchange Binance has yet again limited its services in another country after crypto investors in Australia were notified that they have 90 days to close their positions for futures, options and leveraged tokens.
As of Friday, Aussies are no longer able to increase or open new positions for derivatives products on Binance. However, they will still be able to top-up their margin balances to prevent liquidations and margin calls in the meantime.
According to the latest announcement, Binance’s crypto futures and options market will cease on Dec. 23 as the firm restructures itself in order to reach its regulatory compliance goals.
“We are committed to our industry for the long term and we want to ensure our product offerings are welcomed by users and local regulators,” a spokesperson for Binance told Cointelegraph.
Cross-chain DeFi platform pNetwork became the latest protocol to be hacked on Binance Smart Chain after the team reported a loss of roughly $12.7 million worth of Bitcoin on Monday.
According to a Twitter thread published by pNetwork, the hackers swiped 277 pBTC from the exchange — the majority of the network’s collateral. The team noted the attack was executed by exploiting a bug in its codebase, adding that a fix was already in the works.
The pNetwork team was also kind enough to offer the hacker a $1.5 million bounty if the stolen funds were returned.
Best Cointelegraph Features
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