Cryptocurrencies Act as Safe Haven Amid U.S. Banking Crisis
In a Twitter thread on March 16, Wood pointed towards the asset-to-liability mismatch, which is typical for banks but was untenable in the current scenario. Deposits were leaving the banking system for the first time since the 1930s, and securities earnings for banks were only 1-2% against deposits paying 3-5%, which eventually became untenable as deposits started leaving the system. Some banks were forced to sell held-to-maturity securities, recognizing losses that depleted their equity accounts.
Wood argued that the ongoing crisis wasn’t forced by cryptocurrency, as the ecosystem has been under heavy scrutiny since FTX’s downfall, leading to a severe regulatory crackdown. She said that regulators are using crypto as a scapegoat for their own lapses in oversight of traditional banking.
Wood has long been a known crypto proponent, often reflected in her company’s investment in emerging markets – especially crypto. She projected crypto as a solution to the central points of failure, the opacity, and the regulatory mistakes in the traditional financial system. As the scapegoat for policy mistakes, crypto will move offshore, depriving the U.S. of one of the most important innovations in history.
The current banking crisis would not have been possible in the decentralized, transparent, auditable, and overcollateralized crypto asset ecosystem, according to Wood. Cryptocurrencies have shown themselves to be a safe haven amid the U.S. banking crisis, with Bitcoin and Ether touching new multimonth highs. As traditional banking continues to struggle, it’s clear that cryptocurrencies will play an increasingly important role in the financial landscape of the future.
Binance faces investor backlash and Bitcoin withdrawals following CFTC lawsuit
Within 24 hours of the lawsuit announcement, investors withdrew over 3,400 BTC from Binance, anticipating market fluctuations and seeking to lessen the potential impact of a Binance shutdown. The move by investors led to a reduction in Binance’s total Bitcoin balance, which was reduced by over 3,900 BTC in the past week. In contrast, competing exchanges such as Coinbase, Bitfinex, and Gemini saw an increase in BTC reserves during the same 24-hour timeframe.
While CZ maintains that Binance does not trade for profit or manipulate the market, recent episodes involving other crypto entrepreneurs, such as FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried and Terraform Labs’ Do Kwon, have shaken investor confidence in the cryptocurrency ecosystem.
It is also worth noting that Bitcoin balances on major crypto exchanges have declined since March 20, with nearly 27,000 BTC leaving these exchanges over the past week. The reasons behind this trend are not entirely clear, but it may be due to a combination of factors, including increasing regulatory scrutiny and concerns about the overall cryptocurrency market.
Alongside the CFTC’s lawsuit against Binance and CZ, a federal judge temporarily halted a proposed deal between Voyager and Binance.US. This move indicates that regulators are taking a closer look at the cryptocurrency industry and may be ramping up their efforts to enforce existing regulations and prevent fraudulent activities.
Overall, the recent events surrounding Binance and the wider cryptocurrency market have raised concerns among investors and regulators alike. While the long-term impact of these developments remains to be seen, it is clear that the cryptocurrency industry is facing increased scrutiny and may need to adapt to evolving regulatory requirements to continue its growth and development.
THORChain Pauses Network Amid Reports of Vulnerability
On March 28, THORChain announced that it had temporarily paused all trading due to reports of a potential vulnerability with a THORChain dependency that could impact the network. The decision was made as a precautionary measure while the reports were verified, according to THORChain. Social media reports had indicated that THORChain’s liquidity platform, Nine Realms, and its dedicated security team, THORSec, had received “credible reports” of a possible vulnerability affecting THORChain. As a result, the THORChain network was halted globally.
“Network preemptively paused by NO’s to investigate the report; updates will follow,” Nine Realms tweeted.
THORChain’s native token, Rune (RUNE), has dropped about 5% in value following the news, according to CoinGecko data. As of this writing, the token is trading at $1.32, down 18% over the past 30 days.
This is not the first time that THORChain has had to pause its network due to issues. In October 2022, the network was paused due to a software bug that caused “non-determinism between individual nodes.” After 20 hours of maintenance, the network was fully functional once again.
In 2021, THORChain also had to halt its network after suffering a breach, resulting in hackers stealing $7.6 million worth of cryptocurrency assets.
After about eight hours of the initial announcement, THORChain updated its Twitter account, stating that the vulnerability was credible but would require a malicious node in the last churn, which is when new nodes are added to the network. THORChain has resumed trading as no nodes can exploit the current vulnerability, according to the update.
In conclusion, THORChain’s temporary network pause due to a potential vulnerability serves as a reminder of the risks associated with decentralized protocols. While such protocols offer many benefits, they can also be susceptible to security vulnerabilities and breaches. THORChain’s quick response and resolution to the situation demonstrate the importance of having a dedicated security team and protocol in place to handle potential issues swiftly and efficiently.
Bitcoin Hash Rate Spikes to All-Time Highs
Sam Wouters, a research analyst at Bitcoin financial service provider River Financial, believes that the recent spike in hash rate is linked to the inventory of mining hardware that was brought online last year. He notes that while Bitcoin’s price was low, miners brought as much inventory online as possible, and the network reached maximum capacity. However, with the recent price surge and some time passing, more inventory has been able to go online, leading to the spike in hash rate.
Wouters also suggests that Hydro models are starting to enter the market, with “250+ TH/s per machine, which adds tremendous hash rate.” Similarly, a March 20 analysis from investment banking company Stifel shared a similar sentiment, speculating that miners are bringing hardware back online, which is leading to the increase in hash rate.
One company that is benefitting from the recent surge in hash rate is TeraWulf, a US-based Bitcoin mining company. According to its CEO, Ammar Khan, TeraWulf has been able to continue mining Bitcoin at lower price levels due to its efficient mining fleets. Khan explains that some have speculated that lower prices forced miners to shut down their rigs and wait for the BTC price to improve, but TeraWulf has been able to continue mining due to their low-cost energy sites.
Khan also notes that TeraWulf has the opportunity to expand its capacity by 80 MW at LMD and 50 MW at Nautilus. He believes that the recent price movement is an indication of the long-term value of the ability to expand at low-cost energy sites. However, he does not expect the network hash rate to continue to increase through the first half of the year, as there is a lag between when investment decisions are made and when that capacity comes online.
In conclusion, while the exact reason for the recent spike in hash rate is unclear, it is evident that Bitcoin mining is becoming increasingly profitable, and miners are taking advantage of the current market conditions. As more companies enter the market, and more inventory comes online, it will be interesting to see how the hash rate continues to evolve and how it impacts the price of Bitcoin.
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