XRP is not a security, Celsius CEO arrested on criminal charges, and more: Hodler’s Digest, July 9-15

Ripple Labs has partially defeated the SEC in court, triggering a price increase for XRP. A billion-dollar fine was imposed on Celsius Network by the FTC, and its CEO was arrested for fraud.

Top Stories This Week

Judge rules XRP is not a security in SEC’s case against Ripple

Ripple Labs

Europes first spot Bitcoin ETF eyes 2023 debut after year-long delay

Europe’s first spot Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) is set to debut later this year after a long delay. The Bitcoin ETF, created by London-based Jacobi Asset Management, was set to debut in July 2022 but was postponed due to market conditions. The asset manager now sees a gradual shift in demand compared with 2022. A related development also took place in Argentina this week, as the nation welcomed its first Bitcoin futures contract. According to Matba Rofex, the trading platform behind the investment vehicle, it is the first Bitcoin futures contract in Latin America.

Binance headcount reduction hits 1,000 employees

Binance has reportedly laid off hundreds of employees in recent weeks. According to former employees, cuts were global and customer service workers were heavily affected, particularly in India. Including this weeks layoffs, over 1,000 employees have lost their jobs at the exchange. Before the slash, Binances global headcount was estimated at 8,000. The reorganization could cost Binance more than a third of its staff. The crypto exchange announced the 20% reduction in staff on May 31, claiming it was not downsizing but reallocating resources amid the ongoing crackdown in the United States. Binances most enduring challenge is reportedly an ongoing investigation of its activities and executives by the U.S. Justice Department.

Winners and Losers

At the end of the week, Bitcoin (BTC) is at $30,227, Ether (ETH) at $1,923 and XRP at $0.72. The total market cap is at $1.21 trillion, according to CoinMarketCap.

Among the biggest 100 cryptocurrencies, the top three altcoin gainers of the week are XRP (XRP) at 54.20%, Stellar (XLM) at 37.88% and Synthetix (SNX) at 31.92%. 

The top three altcoin losers of the week are eCash (XEC) at -21.82%, Bitcoin SV (BSV) at -16.75% and Maker (MKR) at -7.87%.

For more info on crypto prices, make sure to read Cointelegraphs market analysis.

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Most Memorable Quotations

This [Ripple ruling] is a big deal. […] Its been clear since this case was filed that it would have implications across the entire industry.

Sheila Warren, CEO of the Crypto Council for Innovation

What I do think is BlackRock, Invesco [and] the group of ETF providers is a real signal that adoption is coming.

Mike Novogratz, founder and CEO of Galaxy Digital

I think the next crypto cycle will be driven by consumer apps that are powered by crypto, but users wont know its crypto unless they look closely.

0xDesigner, pseudonymous Web3 UI/UX designer

XRP is not a security. This victory for Ripple is a win for the entire industry and a step toward regulatory clarity in the U.S.

Ripple Labs, developers of the Ripple payment protocol

[It] is our expectation that the price of Bitcoin will repeat its historical pattern of rallying both ahead of and following each Bitcoin halving.

Berenberg Capital Markets, New York-based investment firm

I think if we want Bitcoin to be more than payments, it needs more scaling solutions.

Vitalik Buterin, co-founder of Ethereum

Prediction of the Week 

Can XRP price hit $1? Watch these levels next

The price of XRP has skyrocketed after a federal court ruling declared that its sales on crypto exchanges complied with United States securities laws. At its highest during the week, the XRP/USD pair reached $0.93, its best level since December 2021.

Certain indicators show that XRPs ongoing price pump may not be just a short-term reaction to the positive news for Ripple. For instance, the duration of XRPs massive pump coincides with its trading volumes reaching a 10-month high. 

The number of XRP whale transactions wallets holding more than $100,000 climbed to their best level in 2023, suggesting that the wealthiest investors back the XRP rally. If key whale and shark addresses are increasing their supply going into this pump, then it is a get foreshadowing signal that the pump may just be getting started, stated pseudonymous analyst Brian Q from data analytics platform Santiment.

From a technical standpoint, XRP can test the key $1 level in the coming days, but its potential to continue the rally beyond looks weak for the time being. If the XRP price decisively breaks above $1, then its next price target by September will likely be near $1.35.

FUD of the Week 

Blockchain Association calls for investigation into Prometheum over alleged sweetheart SEC deal

The Blockchain Association has submitted a letter to the U.S. SEC calling for an investigation into crypto firm Prometheum. In the letter, the Blockchain Association requested the regulator to take a look at Prometheum’s special purpose broker-dealer license approval by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. The group also raised concerns about the means by which co-CEO Aaron Kaplan secured a seat testifying before the U.S. House Financial Services Committee in June. Prometheum has reportedly changed its public position from calling for regulatory clarity from the SEC to claiming that there exists a clear pathway to registration for digital assets and legislation is unnecessary in the country.

New York prosecutor charges hacker over $9M exploit of Solana-based exchange

A former security engineer for an international technology firm has been arrested and charged for allegedly using a smart contract bug to steal $9 million in cryptocurrency from a Solana-based decentralized crypto exchange. The attack was carried out in July 2022 and involved exploiting a vulnerability in the exchanges smart contracts to generate inflated fees with flash loans. The exploiter later returned most of the funds but was allowed to keep $1.6 million as a white hat bounty. The indictment indicates that the U.S. Department of Justice will pursue criminal charges if a person intentionally uses a protocol in a way that it was not *intended* to be used, crypto lawyer Orlando Cosme said on Twitter.

Algorand decentralized lending protocol Algofi to shut down by end of year

Algofi, the borrowing and lending protocol built on decentralized finance blockchain Algorand, will soon shut down. According to a July 11 announcement, developers’ belief in the strength of Algorand’s technology and novel consensus algorithm has not wavered. Liquidity Mining programs will be halted and several collaterals will be reduced to 0% until December. The Algofi protocol has around $25 million in total value locked, down from its $135 million peak in February.

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Author: Editorial Staff

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