Data from CryptoCompare shows that the price of Bitcoin started last week at around $24,000 and moved sideways throughout it, at one point reaching a $25,000 high and a $22,500 low.
Ethereum’s Ether, the second-largest cryptocurrency by market cap, moved slightly upward throughout the week, starting it at around $1,800 and now trading at $1,910. Throughout the week ETH dropped to $1,650 but quickly recovered.
Headlines in the cryptocurrency space this week focused on the world’s largest asset manager with $10 trillion in assets under management, BlackRock, moving deeper into the cryptocurrency space with the launch of a spot Bitcoin private trust.
The trust will only be available to institutional clients in the U.S., but it potentially puts the world’s largest asset manager in competition with Grayscale, the world’s biggest investment vehicle for digital assets. In a post, BlackRock wrote: “Despite the steep downturn in the digital asset market, we are still seeing substantial interest from some institutional clients in how to efficiently and cost-effectively access these assets using our technology and product capabilities.”
The trust comes shortly after the firm partnered with Nasdaq-listed cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase to provide clients of its Aladdin investment platform access to cryptocurrencies.
Coinbase itself has meanwhile reported a 63% decline in revenue for the second quarter of the year. The company’s revenue in Q2 was $808 million, down from $2.2 billion a year earlier. Its number of monthly active customers rose to 9 million from 8.8 million last year, but fell from 9.2 million in the first quarter. The firm reported a net loss of $1.1 billion in Q2, the second quarter in a row in which Coinbase reported revenue declines.
Over the week one more company in the cryptocurrency space froze withdrawals. Singapore-based cryptocurrency lender Hodlnaut announced it was “halting withdrawals, token swaps and deposits with immediate effect” due to “recent market conditions.”
The firm said it had withdrawn its license application with Singapore’s central bank and decided to freeze withdrawals to focus on “stabilizing our liquidity and preserving assets.” The company launched in 2019 and allowed investors to earn interest on their crypto by lending their tokens.
Merge tentatively scheduled
Over the week, Ethereum core developer discussed potential ate for the Merge upgrade, which describes the network’s current mainnet merging with the Beacon Chain’s PoS system, setting the stage for future scaling upgrades, including sharding, and tentatively scheduled it for mid-September.
The Merge will be split into two upgrades: Bellatrix and Paris, with the second being when the Merge is fully implemented. The Paris upgrade is set to occur when the network reaches a certain total terminal difficulty (TTD), which is related to the network’s hashrate. Core developers debated which dates would be most suitable to target, with consensus falling on the 144896 epoch for Bellatrix, meaning September 6.
Developers set a tentative date of September 15 – at a TTD of 58750000000000000000000 – for Paris. These dates aren’t definitive yet and may be altered in the coming days or weeks. If Ethereum’s hashrate falls significantly, the dates may be manually altered.
Leading stablecoin issuers Tether and Circle have announced they will be supporting Ethereum’s transition to a Proof-of-Stake consensus after the Merge upgrade, labeling the transition as one of the “most significant moments in blockchain history.”
US Treasury blacklists crypto mixing service Tornado Cash
The US Treasury Department has banned all Americans from using decentralised cryptocurrency mixing service Tornado Cash by sanctioning addresses associated with it, saying that it “launders the proceeds of cybercrimes”.
A watchdog agency tasked with preventing sanctions violations, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), has added Tornado Cash to its Specially Designated Nationals list, a running tally of blacklisted entities and cryptocurrency addresses, effectively banning Americans from interacting with addresses associated with the protocol.~
The developer behind Tornado Cash has reportedly been arrested over the week, and the protocol’s decentralised autonomous organization (DAO) has been taken down over the sanctions enforced against it.
Notably, India’s Directorate of Enforcement has also announced this week that it froze roughly $8.1 million in funds and conducted a search connected to local cryptocurrency trading platform WazirX.
The Directorate has alleged that WazirX facilitated transactions by unnamed fintech firms to “purchase crypto assets and then launder them abroad” as part of a scheme involving Chinese-backed companies circumventing India’s licensing regulations.
Binance recovers 83% of funds stolen from DeFi protocol Curve
Over the week, decentralised finance protocol Curve Finance was hacked for around $570,000 after a hacker or group of hackers managed to change the protocol’s domain name system (DNS) entry to forward users to a fake clone with a malicious contract.
The malicious contract, which users were prompted to approve, would then drain their wallets. Curve noted on social media that its exchange was unaffected because it uses a different DNS provider.
Leading cryptocurrency exchange Binance, later on, revealed it froze or recovered $450,000 worth of hacked funds.
Curve is a major DeFi protocol, partly thanks to its CRV token rewards. Binance is now reportedly in talks with law enforcement to return the funds to impacted users.
Francisco Memoria is a content creator at CryptoCompare who’s in love with technology and focuses on helping people see the value digital currencies have. His work has been published in numerous reputable industry publications. Francisco holds various cryptocurrencies.