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Weekly Crypto News – September 2023

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Ethereum: false start for Holesky testnet

encountered a major obstacle during the launch of the Holesky testnet due to a misconfiguration of the genesis files, preventing a successful initiation. This setback, occurring on what should have been the commemoration of the first anniversary of the “The Merge” upgrade, resulted in a two-week delay.

Despite the issues with Holesky, the Goerli testnet remains a valuable resource for developers wishing to test their applications, and the future Holesky is planned to address scaling issues, offering increased validator participation.

Why a new testnet on Ethereum?

The Holesky testnet was designed to succeed the Goerli and Sepolia testnets.

While Goerli and Sepolia are operational, they only involved a limited number of validators, not accurately reflecting Ethereum’s scaling capabilities.

Holesky, on the other hand, addresses these issues by introducing a larger-scale testnet. According to the developers, it could handle up to 1.4 million validators, while the Ethereum network currently has ~818,000.

Binance wants to relaunch futures in France

Binance is preparing a careful comeback of its “futures” products in France, after being forced to withdraw in 2022. The company is working closely with the French Financial Markets Authority (AMF) to obtain the necessary approvals, in response to the strong demand from French investors for these investment products.

Faced with strict regulations from the AMF, Binance had to remove its derivatives products from the French market in 2022.

The futures contracts, which allow traders to speculate on market fluctuations, were previously removed to protect novice investors from associated risks.

To ensure a safe and structured return, Binance has adopted a renewed approach.

The company established a specific division, Binance Futures, in 2022, and filed an application for the Investment Services Provider Agreement (PSIC) in September of the same year. Despite facing challenges, including the FTY platform bankruptcy scandal, Binance aims to reintroduce futures with careful planning and adherence to regulations.

Bitcoin: Mt.Gox postpones customer refunds by one year

The repayment deadline for creditors, originally set for October 31, 2023, has been pushed back by one year to October 31, 2024.

Out of a total of over 10,000 clients, each one has confirmed their refund request, recovering 142,000 bitcoins, equivalent to approximately $3.8 billion.

Angst is growing among Mt. Gox creditors, awaiting resolution since the disastrous 2014 hacking incident. This memorable incident resulted in the disappearance of 850,000 bitcoins, which are currently valued at nearly $23 billion. While the exchange has been able to recover nearly 20% of the initially stolen assets, the majority remains missing. Financial industry experts have previously suggested that while these refunds may impact bitcoin prices, they are unlikely to disrupt the market as a whole.

Optimism Foundation sells OP tokens for $157 million without going through the DAO

As part of a “treasury management” strategic initiative, the Optimism Foundation has conducted an OTC sale of 116 million OP tokens, generating $157 million.

This transaction, described as “private” and “planned” on Optimism’s official governance site, was conducted using tokens from an unallocated portion of the foundation’s treasury, valued at $1.25 billion.

These tokens are subject to a two-year lockup period, prohibiting their resale on secondary markets. The seven privileged buyers of the recent sale are now able to delegate these tokens to third parties to participate in governance.

In addition to this sale, the Optimism Foundation continues to engage its community in governance processes. It recently announced its third OP token airdrop, offering 19.4 million tokens to over 31,000 participants.

Currently, 18.6% of the total OP token supply is in circulation, with 570 million allocated for future airdrops.

MiCA: Binance prepares to delist all stablecoins?

The European Union’s regulation on crypto asset markets (MiCA), scheduled for next year, is causing uncertainty regarding stablecoins.

Marina Parthuisot, from Binance France, at a hearing of the European Banking Authority (EBA), emphasized that stablecoins could be largely delisted by June 2024 if the necessary pre-approvals are not granted.

In response to these concerns, Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, CEO of Binance, stated that Binance is looking to introduce fully compliant stablecoins and challenged statements regarding a massive delisting.

However, MiCA’s stipulation that stablecoin issuers be based in the EU could potentially marginalize blockchain-based models. As Binance reassesses its presence in certain European jurisdictions due to MiCA, experts debate the vague aspects of this regulation, questioning its relevance for decentralized stablecoin issuers.

FTX sues SBF’s parents

FTX, the bankrupt exchange, is in legal conflict with the parents of its founder, Sam Bankman-Fried.

Joseph Bankman and Barbara Fried are accused of embezzling millions of dollars from the company. They are also suspected of using their influential position in the legal academic world to facilitate this alleged embezzlement, jeopardizing the integrity of FTX.

Barbara Fried is accused of directing Sam Bankman-Fried’s political contribution strategy and channeling significant funds into causes supported by a political action committee.

Allegations also reveal lavish spending and exorbitant salaries drawn from FTX’s coffers. Court records also mention a property, ‘Blue Water,’ acquired for over $18 million, and complex financial transactions orchestrated by Joseph Bankman, including a $10 million donation from Alameda Ltd.

Fun fact: SBF’s father allegedly sent him an email complaining about his low salary of $200,000 per year, when in fact he wanted $1 million per year!

News in brief

  • Malta modifies its crypto regulation ahead of MiCA implementation
  • The SEC accuses Binance.US of dubious asset custody and requests court inspection
  • Binance refuses to disclose documents demanded by the SEC
  • Citigroup launches its private blockchain and Citi Token services
  • Optimism announces a new $26 million OP token airdrop
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