Changpeng Zhao, Binance’s former CEO, faced a setback; the Bitcoin spot ETF craze continues, with BlackRock and Grayscale modifying their filings; and BTC clinched the $39,000 spot amid a sustained market uptrend.
Binance ex-CEO’s travel ban
- Recall that the U.S. Justice Department argued against letting Zhao leave to the UAE, adding that he might not return to the U.S. to face his sentencing, as the country does not have an extradition agreement with the UAE.
- This week, District Judge Richard Jones agreed that authorities restrict Zhao from leaving the U.S. before his sentencing in February next year. Zhao would have to remain in the U.S. until then.
Zhao resigns as Binance.US chairman amid probe
- Despite getting the global Binance entity to admit to financial violations and a fine of $4.3 billion, U.S. authorities are still onto the Binance brand. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently revealed it has continued its probe into Binance.US’ operations.
- The agency believes the exchange might have also employed a backdoor mechanism similar to what FTX leveraged for its illegal financial operations involving customer assets.
- A day after the SEC’s disclosure, Binance.US announced that Zhao had resigned from his position as the board Chairman of the company. Binance.US also emphasized its independence from the global Binance entity.
Ronaldo caught in the crossfire, Binance’s woes in the Philippines
- This week, soccer icon Cristiano Ronaldo found himself caught in the Binance saga. Binance customers initiated a class action against the Al-Nassr forward, claiming they incurred losses due to his promotion of Binance.
- Binance’s woes did not end in the U.S., extending to Southeast Asia this week. Notably, the Philippines SEC released a warning statement on Nov. 28, revealing that Binance had been operating in the country without a valid license.
- Shortly after this disclosure, reports suggested that the Philippines securities regulator was looking to enact measures to block Binance’s operations in the country.
Spot BTC ETFs: Grayscale, BlackRock modify filings
- The crypto community also witnessed developments surrounding the spot BTC ETF filings. Documents on the SEC’s website confirmed that Grayscale modified its GBTC agreement to make it suitable for a spot ETF as they await an approval of the conversion.
- In addition, BlackRock also made changes to its filings. The minutes of the asset manager’s meeting with the SEC revealed that the firm modified the spot BTC ETF filing to tackle concerns raised by the regulatory agency.
Discussions surrounding a BTC ETF
- Amid the delay in the approval of a spot BTC ETF, discussions surrounding the investment product emerged this week. When asked, SEC Chairperson Gary Gensler refused to comment on the approval process of the multiple filings on the regulatory agency’s desk.
- However, Gensler did highlight the crypto industry’s susceptibility to fraud and market manipulation. Meanwhile, Bloomberg ETF analyst James Seyffart revealed on Nov. 30 that the next window for an approval is between Jan. 5 and Jan. 10 next year.
- As efforts to get approval intensified. Grayscale hired John Hoffman, a former Invesco executive, to lead its team of partnerships and distribution. This move was in preparation for an approval of its spot BTC ETF filing.
Scams, hacks and everything in between
- This week saw no shortage of developments surrounding scams, hacks and enforcements. The U.S. Treasury sanctioned another crypto mixer Sinbad, claiming that North Korean hackers used it to launder stolen frauds from protocols such as Atomic Wallet and Ronin Bridge.
- Meanwhile, the Kyberswap hacker who stole $47 million on Nov. 23 from the protocol finally made his demands for the return of the funds. The exploiter demanded full control of the protocol and a change of governance.
- USDC issuer Circle denied allegations that it was actively facilitating illegal financial transactions, which include funds flows involving Hamas. Circle’s rebuttal came in response to concerns from Sherrod Brown and Elizabeth Warren, U.S. senators.
UN turns to Algorand, MSTR buys more BTC
- Despite the growing concerns surrounding illicit blockchain and crypto activities, adoption did not slow this week. The United Nations collaborated with the Algorand Foundation to educate its staff on blockchain.
- Reports further demonstrated MicroStrategy’s sustained optimism in Bitcoin. A disclosure from this week revealed that the firm had pumped $593.3 million on 16,130 more BTC tokens at an average price of $36,785.
- Meanwhile, Circle turned its eyes toward Japan, inking a partnership with Japanese financial giant SBI Holdings, intending to offer stablecoin services in the East Asian country.
- While blockchain and cryptocurrency have endured growing adoption in most spheres, reports suggested a different story in the gaming industry. According to a CoinGecko report this week, over 75% of Web3 games in the past five years have not been successful.
Bitcoin conquers $39,000
- Bitcoin extended its multi-week uptrend into this week amid sustained bullishness. As the broader market saw bullish momentum last week, CoinShares confirmed that digital asset products recorded an 18-month high of $346 million in inflows.
- Starting the week at $37,447, BTC conquered two pivotal psychological resistance thresholds amid an impressive run. The asset surged past $38,000 on Dec. 1, closing the day at $38,682, before conquering $39,000 on Dec. 2.
- Following the massive price spikes, IntoTheBlock revealed that over 80% of BTC holders are in profit. Bitcoin now sits well above the $39,000 mark. At last check on Dec. 3, it hovered just above $39,641 and aims to reclaim the $40,000 territory.