Welcome to Around the Blockchain, Huobi Learn’s daily rundown of the crypto markets.
In the last month alone, the Cardano blockchain has seen 400 new projects and 100,000 new wallets created, bringing the total numbers to almost 900 projects and 3.268 million wallets. While the average daily rate of new ADA wallets has surged from 2,000 to 8,129, however, the number of daily transactions has fallen from 106,952 to 106,525 in the past month. At the same time, Cardano has just 10 different dApps — accounting for $224.98 of total value locked (TVL) — and falls outside the top 15 blockchains in terms of NFT sales volume over the past 24 hours. Still, transactions above $100,000 have increased 50-fold since Jan and founder Charles Hoskinson has hinted at positive change with the upcoming Vasil Hard Fork upgrade in June.
The crypto market has seen a collective 19% dip this year but stocks of publicly traded, crypto-focused companies are faring worse, having fallen by as much as 60% so far. The largest US exchange, Coinbase, is down 40%, while Marathon Digital is down 35% and TeraWulf 61%. The combined market cap of such crypto firms has fallen from $100 billion to around $60 billion since Nov, with Coinbase accounting for over 50% of the dip. The main issue seems to be trading volume — across the top 10 exchanges, trading volume has fallen 40% from Q4 2021 to Q1 2022; Coinbase’s daily average trading volume has shrunk from $4 billion to $2.6 billion between Jan and Apr 2022. According to BTIG analyst Mark Palmer, crypto stocks have also been affected by the fintech sell-off that started last fall, and have decoupled somewhat from the underlying crypto market.
The US Secret Service has seized over $102 million in crypto from criminals in 254 cases since 2015, including that of a Russian cybercrime syndicate laundering funds through a crypto exchange, as well as a ransomware operation linked to Russian and North Korean criminals that involved BTC payments sent to the suspects’ crypto wallets by US firms to stop the attacks. Investigators have noticed that thieves tend to transfer stolen crypto into stablecoins; assistant director of investigations David Smith said, “They want to avoid some of that market volatility associated with some of the major coins.”
Crypto-focused venture firm Framework Ventures has raised $400 million in new funding to invest in early-stage companies in the Web3, blockchain gaming and DeFi industries. The funds will go into FVIII, an over-subscribed fund worth $400 million, with around $200 million allocated to blockchain gaming. Framework Ventures currently has over $1.4 billion in assets under management, and was an early investor in projects like Aave, Chainlink and The Graph.
According to the IMF’s Global Financial Stability report, the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine have led to an accelerated “cryptoization” in emerging markets, thanks to heightened speculative interest during the pandemic, followed by attempts to evade sanctions. However, the report also said using crypto to evade sanctions was impractical due to compliance within the crypto industry, but added that as crypto was harder to immobilize, countries concerned about sanctions may find it more attractive than major fiat currencies as reserve currency. The report further stated that regulation was falling behind rapid fintech developments, and recommended that regulators focus on DeFi, which could offer benefits from greater efficiency and financial inclusion.
Robinhood has signed an agreement to acquire UK-based crypto firm Ziglu, with the deal “subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions”. Ziglu, which allows retail investors in the UK to buy and sell 11 cryptocurrencies, was valued at $110.8 million in Nov after it had raised $9.1 million. While nothing will change in the short term for Ziglu’s customers, Robinhood will fully integrate Ziglu in the long term to “bring the Robinhood brand overseas” while it works to “expand operations beyond the UK into Europe”.
Show me the money
BTC is continuing its recovery from a 5-week low of $38,700 on Monday, most recently trading at $41,300. Over the past 24 hours, ETH saw a slight increase of 0.91% to $3042.62, while other major altcoins fared better: ADA was up 2.63%, SOL 6.7% and LUNA 6.13%. Meme tokens DOGE and SHIB saw a respective increase of 3.64% and 2.25%.
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