Cryptocurrency Market News in January 2024

6 February 2024

Bitdeer Platform Identifies Top Cryptocurrency Miners of the Past Year

The Mining Awards 2023 event took place on January 25, featuring competitions among the industry’s best miners in various categories.

“The technological breakthrough of the year” was attributed to Bitmain’s new flagship, the Antminer S21. These devices boast a hash rate of 200 TH and maintain energy efficiency at the level of 17.5 J/TH. “The S21 series has been honored with the Bitdeer award for exceptional energy efficiency in current conditions,” announced Bitmain.

Avalon, with its devices A1466 and 150T priced at an average of $8.8 per 1 T, was recognized as the ‘most economical miner.’ The title of ‘mining pool of the year’ went to the Foundry, which owns 28.1% of the global hash rate. NiceHash was named the ‘best cloud hash rate platform.’ Bitdeer stated that the service aspires to the award ‘not only as an open platform for hash rate trading but also as a proponent of innovations in mining security and protection.’

The Whatsminer company won the award for ‘Mining Deal of the Year.’ At the end of 2023, it entered into an agreement with the Phoenix Group insurance company for $380 million. Also, at the Mining Awards 2023, they named ‘Mining Media of the Year,’ which was awarded to one of the first magazines covering digital currencies, Bitcoin Magazine. The ‘News of the Year’ was recognized as the entry of mining services provider Bitdeer onto the Nasdaq exchange through a SPAC deal.

The Cube.Exchange platform raised $12 million

The hybrid crypto trading service announced the attraction of $12 million in investment as part of a Series A funding round. Thus, the startup’s valuation reached $100 million.

The round was led by the company 6th Man Ventures. Among the other investors were GSR Markets, Foundation Capital, Susquehanna Private, Everstake Capital, Equity Investments, and ParaFi Digital. Bartosz Lipinski, CEO of the Cube.Exchange, stated that the platform ‘responded to significant incoming interest from investors and closed the entire round in less than a month.’ It is known that the company did not actively seek investments in startups. Lipinski also clarified that the funding round included shares in the form of token warrants, special instruments that allow the warrant holder to purchase the company’s tokens at a specified price within a specified period or by a certain date of the transaction’s completion.

Bartosz Lipinski shared future plans and added that after securing funding, the company will increase its staff, which currently consists of 25 people. They also plan to obtain licenses in more jurisdictions and expand the offering of L1 blockchains

Binance has launched a marketplace for inscriptions. 

The exchange team introduced the Binance Inscriptions trading platform for handling inscriptions. This allows users to buy, sell, and issue Inscription tokens, BRC-20 standard tokens, and similar assets in EVM networks. The decision to add support for “inscriptions” in Binance was explained by the growing prospects of this segment: “The market gained significant recognition when the BRC-20 token ORDI reached a $1 billion market capitalization in December. This demonstrates the significant potential of such assets. Their adoption goes beyond Bitcoin: over 200 million inscription tokens on various blockchains underscore their attractiveness.”

It is known that the Binance Inscriptions Marketplace incorporates a Web3 wallet with self-storage. According to the exchange’s statement, this offers “a simple and convenient way to trade and issue a wide range of inscription tokens.” Binance also noted that the trading platform applies the UniSat API, special platforms for assets based on the Ordinals protocol. This allows users to access deep liquidity and more than 60,000 tokens.

Earlier, the cryptocurrency exchange OKX also added support for inscription standards Doginals, Atomicals, Stamps, and Runes, explaining this decision by the active development of the market.

Trading volume for Ethereum reaches a record high

In January of this year, the options trading volume on the platform reached a record-breaking $20 billion. The majority of cryptocurrency Ethereum transactions took place on the Deribit cryptocurrency exchange, which accounted for approximately $15 billion of the total trading volume.

According to the analytical service The Block, the most in-demand options were call options with a price of $2,500 and an expiration date of February 23rd. Interest in these options reached 74,548 contracts, with a nominal value of $172 million. Thus, a significant portion of Ethereum traders anticipate a breakthrough in the cryptocurrency and assume that its price will exceed $2,500 by February 23.

It is also known that since the beginning of the year, the transaction volume on the Ethereum platform has reached the equivalent of $102.9 billion, surpassing this value by 5% compared to December of the previous year. Analysts confidently state increased activity in the blockchain.

Tether has announced the opening of an educational division

The issuer of the largest market capitalization stablecoin, Tether USD (USDT), has unveiled a global educational initiative called Tether Edu. The company stated that this is necessary for the development of skills and expertise in the blockchain and digital technology fields.

In collaboration with leading figures in the crypto industry, Tether Edu will launch online courses, webinars, and masterclasses on artificial intelligence, programming, and design. Additionally, special attention will be given to emerging markets in Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, Europe, the CIS, and Asia. “The Tether Edu project is truly important to me. No, it’s not just another blockchain course. Tether Edu aims to create a comprehensive international educational-technical platform where online learning takes place across various industries,” emphasized Paolo Ardoino, the CEO of Tether. However, detailed information has not yet been disclosed.

The ZetaChain platform will launch its mainnet to connect Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other networks

According to the analytical publication The Block, the main blockchain network of the ZetaChain platform will be launched in the coming days. It is also known that the mainnet is integrated with various chains, ranging from Bitcoin and Ethereum to blockchains within the Cosmos ecosystem. BNB Chain is among the initially supported networks.

Thus, the platform offers users the ability to create applications that utilize cryptocurrencies on these blockchains, connecting them. However, similar cross-chain projects come with a high level of risk. Earlier in 2021, a similar project called THORChain fell victim to numerous hacking attacks, leading to the suspension of the network and a loss of about $12.7 million due to the breach.

In response to global experts’ concerns, one of the ZetaChain developers, Ankur Nandwani, stated, “We will launch the blockchain in the real world and see what happens, how everything works, and then slowly, gradually increase TVL.” He claims that “if you’re building a cross-chain, multi-chain application, it’s harder than just building on one network because different chains have different transaction finalization procedures and security models, so you have to account for a lot more factors.”

Thus, Nandwani anticipates that the development of ZetaChain will open up new possibilities for using Bitcoin, which will cease to be merely a store of value. 

Circle will issue USD Coin stablecoins on the Celo blockchain.

Circle has already announced the issuance of the dollar-pegged stablecoin USDC on a blockchain optimized for mobile devices. The exact release date is currently unknown.

Users of the Celo blockchain will have the ability to create USDC using the Circle Mint service, convert stablecoins into various fiat currencies, send coins to other individuals, as well as borrow or lend digital assets. “The USDC issued by Circle will be native to Celo, joining innovative use cases of stablecoins in the ecosystem, including money transfers, savings, lending, aid distribution, P2P, and cross-chain payments,” clarified Circle.

Developers added that the Celo blockchain ecosystem includes over a thousand projects in 150 countries worldwide. As for the USD Coin, it trails only Tether’s USDT and ranks second among stablecoins in terms of market capitalization, which amounts to $26.7 billion.

El Hippo has partnered with Onramp Money 

In anticipation of the release of the NFT collection, the EI Hippo project has initiated a collaboration with the trading platform Onramp Money. This will allow users to purchase the HIPP token using 14 fiat currencies, including the euro and the British pound.

EI Hippo, or HIPP, is a meme token on the Ethereum blockchain. In the near future, its creators will release an NFT collection featuring images of hippos, each with unique characteristics. “We have a rewards campaign of over $1000 per month for participation in the ecosystem, winning meme contests, and in general for creating a fun and welcoming community,” the project developers stated.

Binance has frozen $4.2 million in XRP stolen from the personal wallet of Ripple’s co-founder 

The hack was discovered by blockchain researcher ZachXBT. He noticed suspicious transactions and suspected that hackers had stolen approximately 213 million XRP, equivalent to $112.5 million, from the Ripple project and its leader, Chris Larsen. The thieves transferred these funds to various cryptocurrency exchanges, including Binance.

Earlier, according to Larsen, unknown individuals gained unauthorized access to his personal accounts. The head of Ripple noted that the issue was quickly detected, and they informed trading platforms to freeze the assets while involving law enforcement agencies in the investigation. 

Binance CEO Richard Teng expressed gratitude for the prompt tracking of the stolen tokens by ZachXBT and the Ripple team. He also added that a significant portion of the funds is still in the external wallets of the perpetrators, but Binance experts continue to monitor the hackers’ assets, collaborate with Ripple, and provide assistance in the investigation.

A pastor from the United States explained a cryptocurrency scam of $1.5 million as “God’s will”

Online church Victorious Grace Church’s pastor, Eli Regalado, based in Colorado, admitted to creating a cryptocurrency project to misappropriate funds from church members. However, he justified it as “God’s directive to enrich the congregation.”

Eli Regalado and his wife, Kaitlyn, are the founders of the online church. In the summer of 2022, Regalado informed parishioners and followers that “God told him people would become rich if they acquired the INDXcoin cryptocurrency.” 

Coins could be purchased on Regalado’s own exchange, Kingdom Wealth Exchange. Between June 2022 and April 2023, over 300 parishioners fell victim to the pastor’s scam. The Kingdom Wealth Exchange platform later ceased operations, allegedly due to a “lack of funds to maintain the internal servers.” Regalado instructed INDXcoin holders, “by God’s command,” not to sell the tokens.

Colorado’s regulator filed a lawsuit against the pastor. According to the lawsuit, the couple sold INDXcoin tokens for $3.2 million. Regalado claimed that half of this money went towards paying taxes, and a significant portion was used for home repairs, “as commanded by the Lord.” Authorities also found that the remaining funds were spent by the couple on lavish vacations, cosmetic procedures, dentistry, and purchasing branded wardrobe items.

In January of this year, Eli Regalado posted a video on the official INDXcoin website, admitting to the charges brought against him. “The accusations are that Kaitlyn and I pocketed $1.3 million, and I just want to state that these accusations are true,” confessed the pastor. He also claimed to have done it because “the Lord told him to give his followers tenfold profits.”

The court ordered a two-week freeze on Regalado’s bank accounts and assets and prohibited them from selling tokens in the state of Colorado.

Artificial intelligence has determined the price Bitcoin is expected to reach by the end of February

By the end of January 2024, the price of Bitcoin was in the range of $42,000. AI and machine learning algorithms have made a forecast suggesting that during February, the price of Bitcoin may decrease to $38,699. 

If such a forecast proves to be accurate, it would signify an 8.28% decrease in BTC compared to its current value. Currently, the monthly dynamics indicate a 7.7% loss in price. However, the decline could present an excellent opportunity to acquire the cryptocurrency at a lower price before its anticipated upward trend resumes.

The volume of stablecoin transfers on Solana has reached a record high

Since the beginning of 2024, the total volume of transfers of stablecoins on the Solana blockchain platform has reached $303 billion. According to analytical data from Artemis, this figure exceeded the value from December of the previous year, which stood at $297 billion, and increased by 26.2 times compared to January ($11.56 billion).

Analysts attribute this growth to the increasing interest in USDC on Solana. This trend emerged in October 2023. In the beginning of last year, the daily transaction volume on Solana exceeded $40 billion, reaching a record high.

Currently, according to Artemis, weekly stablecoin volumes across all networks have reached an annual maximum.