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In this edition:Bitcoin is a ‘Screaming Buy’ for 2024 – VanEck Hong Kong is Preparing OTC Exchange Regulations, Following Cases of Youth Accused of Money Laundering PancakeSwap’s Flagship Game ‘Pancake Protectors’ Expands to zkSync Era and Arbitrum 10 0f Top 15 Mining Pools Have Consolidated Coinbase Block Rewards Since Last Year
Bitcoin is a ‘Screaming Buy’ for 2024 – VanEck
Global investment managing firm VanEck has named bitcoin (BTC) one of the firm’s “screaming buys” for 2024.
Related to that, it shared updates regarding its views on digital assets and the growth of digital asset-linked funds.
According to the press release, assets in VanEck’s crypto-linked funds are fast approaching $1 billion globally. On December 27, the firm’s VanEck Digital Transformation ETF (DAPP) surpassed $100 million in assets under management (AUM).
CEO Jan van Eck commented that,
“Crypto is the hottest part of the investment market today, and a range of factors, not the least of which being potential movement on the introduction of a spot Bitcoin ETF in the U.S., has Bitcoin and the broader crypto space poised to break out in 2024.”
Matthew Sigel, Head of Digital Assets Research for VanEck, argued that DAPP provides “an excellent window” into both 2023 and 2024.
DAPP’s 2023 performance, which as of December 28 was at more than +300% year-to-date, has been driven by Coinbase and Bitcoin miners, Sigel said.
“Coinbase, a large DAPP constituent, stands out for its market share gains, which we think are sustainable,” Sigel stated. He added: “If we at VanEck are correct that Bitcoin will make an all-time high next year on the back of the Bitcoin halving, a more relaxed U.S. Federal Reserve, and continued crypto adoption in emerging markets, then 2024 may be another strong year for the universe of companies so well-captured by the DAPP ETF.”
Hong Kong is Preparing OTC Exchange Regulations, Following Cases of Youth Accused of Money Laundering
Hong Kong authorities have revealed plans to regulate over-the-counter (OTC) cryptocurrency exchanges. The move follows calls for action from a lawmaker after several young people (allegedly) mistakenly broke anti-money-laundering regulations, according to the South China Morning Post.
The Financial Services and the Treasury Bureau spokesman said on Thursday that the regulators warned the public and investors about the risks associated with unlicensed virtual asset trading platforms. Authorities also urged residents to use exchanges licensed by the Securities and Futures Commission.
Per the spokesman,
“In respect of virtual asset over-the-counter operations, we plan to introduce legislative amendments to establish a regulatory system. We are drawing up the regulatory framework in coordination with relevant departments and regulators for public consultation.”
Lawmaker Johnny Ng Kit-chong claimed on Thursday that, this month alone, he had heard of “five to six” incidents involving people in their 20s, including university graduates, suspected of using virtual assets for money laundering.
One case involved more than $12.8 million. Ng added that December incidents saw several tens of millions of dollars each.
“We have received some cases seeking help, all of which were similar and involved young people and virtual assets. They were suspected of conspiracy to commit money laundering.”
The victims had trusted friends with personal information, Ng said. But they would use identity details to open accounts abroad and deposit crypto.
They would later withdraw large amounts of cash through personal bank accounts in Hong Kong. Then they’d hand it over to offline crypto exchange shops, Ng said.
PancakeSwap’s Flagship Game ‘Pancake Protectors’ Expands to zkSync Era and Arbitrum
Decentralized exchange PancakeSwap’s ‘Pancake Protectors’ announced the addition of Layer-2 (L2) networks zkSync Era and Arbitrum.
This PvP on-chain game has over 25,000 daily active users during peak times.
“Pancake Protectors players can now seamlessly deposit and withdraw CAKE tokens, the primary in-game currency, across five chains: BNB Chain, Polygon zkEVM, Base, and now zkSync Era and Arbitrum.”
They are able to utilize CAKE to unlock various functionalities. These include leveling up, unlocking specialty characters, accessing exclusive passes, purchasing in-game gold and gift packs, and staking to unlock additional resources and gameplay.
10 0f Top 15 Mining Pools Have Consolidated Coinbase Block Rewards Since Last Year
The majority of the top 15 mining pools have consolidated coinbase block rewards. This happened as they increasingly need strong financial backing, according to the latest Miner Weekly report by BlocksBridge Consulting.
Citing TheMinerMag, the report found that this consolidation happened since last year. Notably, “many of them were launched as independent operators with no notable financial backers.”
Since early 2022, the coinbase payout addresses of Antpool, Binance Pool, Ultimus Pool, BTC.com, 1THash, Poolin, EMCD Pool, Luxor, SECPool, and Braiins Pool have regularly sent a portion or the entirety of their block rewards to the same output addresses in single transactions.
“This consolidation pattern appears to result from certain payout processing agreements between these pools and an entity financing their daily payouts.”
All these pools adopted the Full Pay-per-Share (FPPS) model, meaning they have daily liabilities to miner customers. “Hence, having strong financial backing becomes increasingly necessary to hedge against bad luck.”
Given that block rewards were sent in single transactions to the same outputs, the financing entity likely controls all the coinbase payout and hopping addresses – though it is unclear who.
“It is reasonable to believe it is Antpool or Bitmain-tied entities, given Antpool’s transactional pattern as early as March 2022. That would raise a question of whether or how many of these pools have also diverted hashrate to Antpool as part of the financing agreements.”
The report argued that one of the most notable developments in Bitcoin mining in 2023 was the resurgence of hashrate connected to Bitmain-tied Antpool. It surpassed Foundry USA in November in the number of blocks mined.
While Foundry regained the upper hand, said the report, on-chain transactions imply that the hashrate diverted to Antpool could be larger than expected.
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