Notes 8/12: Chandler Guo’s Crusade, the Tornado Cash Circus

Chandler Guo is what is known as an OG (Original Gangster, for the uninitiated) in crypto circles. A former beef salesman, Guo made his cryptocurrency millions by setting up a mining farm in Inner Mongolia and selling it for a massive payday during the asset class’s early days. He reportedly lives in a California mansion now and owns an estate, where he grows vegetables and … Continue reading Notes 8/12: Chandler Guo’s Crusade, the Tornado Cash Circus

Notes 8/11: Blackrock Launches Bitcoin Trust And Ethereum’s Merge

The world’s biggest asset manager is launching a private trust for Bitcoin. The Blackrock Bitcoin Private Trust will track the cryptocurrency’s price at spot exchanges and is open to the firm’s institutional clients in the United States. In a statement on its website, the asset manager said it had witnessed “substantial interest” from institutional clients interested in investing in cryptocurrency using its products. Blackrock had … Continue reading Notes 8/11: Blackrock Launches Bitcoin Trust And Ethereum’s Merge

SEC Wants More Information About Digital Assets Holdings From Hedge Funds

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) want to know more about trading strategies employed by hedge funds and their digital asset holdings, according to multiple reports this morning. The two agencies have approved a proposal that will change Form PF – filed by private funds – to require more disclosures about these holdings. Currently, digital asset holdings are reported … Continue reading SEC Wants More Information About Digital Assets Holdings From Hedge Funds

Coinbase Reports Disappointing Earnings, Reflecting Crypto Winter

There was not much to cheer about in Coinbase’s first quarter earnings for 2022 yesterday. If anything, they provided more proof of the pain in crypto markets. North America’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume reported losses and a revenue decline of more than a billion dollars in its latest earnings period. The exchange, among the pioneers of crypto industry, has previously benefitted from a … Continue reading Coinbase Reports Disappointing Earnings, Reflecting Crypto Winter

Notes 8/9: Tornado Cash Gets Sanctioned, Ether Price Surges As Gas Prices Fall

The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), a unit of the Treasury Department, has sanctioned crypto mixing service Tornado Cash. This means that it cannot be used on American soil. Tornado Cash is a decentralized app on the Ethereum blockchain that enables anonymization of transaction data. According to the Treasury department, it has been used by hackers, notably the North Korea-linked Lazarus group, to launder … Continue reading Notes 8/9: Tornado Cash Gets Sanctioned, Ether Price Surges As Gas Prices Fall

Notes 8/5: Blackrock and Coinbase, A New Ethereum Chain

Blackrock, the world’s biggest asset manager, announced a partnership with Coinbase yesterday that enables the former’s institutional customers to purchase, trade, and custody cryptocurrencies at the latter exchange using Aladdin – the software solution for managers at Blackrock. Blackrock, as I mentioned earlier, is the world’s biggest asset manager with over $9 trillion assets under management. Coinbase share prices, which have been hammered by the … Continue reading Notes 8/5: Blackrock and Coinbase, A New Ethereum Chain

Delving Into MicroStrategy’s Bitcoin Bet

Bitcoin’s emergence as an asset class has been tumultuous. Amidst a raucous debate about its utility, the cryptocurrency’s price volatility has transfixed investors and traders looking for short-term profits. But they do not have much choice in terms investing avenues because the cryptocurrency remains largely outside the perimeters of regulation. Instead, players have crafted unique investing configurations to provide exposure to the asset class. The … Continue reading Delving Into MicroStrategy’s Bitcoin Bet

Is Investor Enthusiasm for The Merge Misplaced?

Amidst a crypto winter that has wiped off billions in token valuations, the price of Ethereum’s ether popped recently. It skyrocketed by more than 50% to trade at $1636.17 and has, since, fallen by 15%. Analysts are attributing the surge in Ether’s prices as a vote of confidence by investors to a possible September event called The Merge. The Merge is expected to make Ethereum’s … Continue reading Is Investor Enthusiasm for The Merge Misplaced?

What Does The Future Hold For GBTC?

Among the limited number of bitcoin-related investments available to investors, the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) is the most well-known. It was the first publicly traded investment vehicle in public markets and has the biggest number of assets under management. In the last year, however, GBTC’s popularity has waned. Its shares, which traded at significant premiums to its net asset value, are trading at a discount. … Continue reading What Does The Future Hold For GBTC?

More Celsius Filing Takeaways

Celsius started off as a simple crypto lending firm. Or at least that’s what I was told when I met its CEO Alex Mashinsky in 2018 at the Consensus conference. Over the years, its business has morphed into that of a bank, a crypto miner, and a custodian among others. Another filing by Mashinsky attempts to shed some light on the tangled setup of Celsius. … Continue reading More Celsius Filing Takeaways

Four Takeaways From Celsius’ Bankruptcy Filing

Troubled cryptocurrency lending firm Celsius filed for bankruptcy yesterday in the Southern District of New York. The filing does not provide much information into the company’s operations because the company has many businesses. The opaque nature of cryptocurrency markets and its complex web of relationships between different players make it even more difficult to accurately determine its effect on the cryptocurrency ecosystem. Celsius stated that … Continue reading Four Takeaways From Celsius’ Bankruptcy Filing

Notes 7/13: NFT As Collateral, Bitcoin Price, And Celsius

Because TradFi isn’t enough. Because DeFi isn’t enough. We now have the imaginatively titled NFTfi. The South Africa-based firm makes cryptocurrency loans using NFTs as collateral. NFTs or non-fungible tokens are digital artifacts for artworks currently but are expected to represent many other assets, such as real estate, in the future. They exploded in popularity during the pandemic, with some NFTs becoming worth as much … Continue reading Notes 7/13: NFT As Collateral, Bitcoin Price, And Celsius

Notes: 7/8: Voyager and Alameda, Celsius, and Grayscale ETF

Last month, as the crypto contagion was beginning to spread, FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried, who believes in “effective altruism”, talked about his “responsibility” to crypto with National Public Radio (NPR). “I do feel like we have a responsibility to seriously consider stepping in, even if it is at a loss to ourselves, to stem contagion,” he said. He has rescued many companies that have fallen … Continue reading Notes: 7/8: Voyager and Alameda, Celsius, and Grayscale ETF

Miner Extractable Value: A Source of Profits and Future Regulation

I have written about Ethereum’s expensive gas fees earlier. The fees are an important source of revenue for miners in a volatile crypto market where double-digit price swings are not uncommon. But they are not the only source of profits. The Bank of International Settlements (BIS) released a bulletin last month highlighting the need to design regulations pertaining to Miner Extractable Value (MEV) – another … Continue reading Miner Extractable Value: A Source of Profits and Future Regulation

Notes: 7/6: Voyager Bankruptcy, Celsius Payback, and FTX’s Push For Retail Investors

Brokerage firm Voyager Digital has filed for bankruptcy, becoming the second crypto company – after hedge fund Three Arrows Capital (3AC) – to go under. In its filings, the firm stated that it had 100,000 creditors and between $1 billion to $10 billion in assets and liabilities. Its exposure to 3AC was worth $661 million, according to the filing.  Voyager had received critical cash infusion … Continue reading Notes: 7/6: Voyager Bankruptcy, Celsius Payback, and FTX’s Push For Retail Investors

Notes 7/5: Vauld Acquisition Talks, Regulatory Action, and Celsius Disclosures

Another domino fell in the crypto ecosystem over the weekend. Singapore-based lending firm Vauld stopped operations in response to “financial challenges” due to a flurry of customer withdrawals due to a crash in crypto markets. More than $197.7 million has been withdrawn from the platform since June 12. Interestingly, Three Arrows Capital, the hedge fund that seems to have spread its tentacles far and wide … Continue reading Notes 7/5: Vauld Acquisition Talks, Regulatory Action, and Celsius Disclosures

Notes: 7/3: BlockFi, Three Arrows Capital, and Tether

The BlockFi fire sale of $25 million did not happen. Instead, FTX upped its revolving credit facility to the crypto lending startup from $250 million to $400 million and acquired an option to purchase BlockFi for $240 million. As a reminder, BlockFi was once valued at $5 billion in private markets and claimed to be on pace for revenues of $475 million last year. Its … Continue reading Notes: 7/3: BlockFi, Three Arrows Capital, and Tether

Notes: 1/7: BlockFi Valuation, EU Crypto Regulation, and More CoinFlex Drama

According to reports, lending firm BlockFi is being sold in a fire sale to FTX. The firm, which was seeking a valuation of $5 billion in its previous funding round has a price tag of $25 million now. The reasons for a crash in its valuation are not clear. BlockFi CEO Zac Prince yesterday linked to a podcast he did with Castle Island Ventures last … Continue reading Notes: 1/7: BlockFi Valuation, EU Crypto Regulation, and More CoinFlex Drama

Notes: 6/30: Grayscale’s SEC Rejection, Celsius Ponzi Scheme, and Genesis Losses

Pop quiz: What is common between a lawsuit, a Ponzi scheme, and “hundreds of millions” dollars’ in losses? If you guessed cryptocurrencies, then you are on the right track. Bitcoin price fell below $20,000 this morning after news came out that the SEC had rejected Grayscale’s Bitcoin ETF application. For crypto enthusiasts, approval would have been a vote of confidence for the ecosystem. It would … Continue reading Notes: 6/30: Grayscale’s SEC Rejection, Celsius Ponzi Scheme, and Genesis Losses

Notes 6/29: Three Arrows Capital Liquidation, Bitcoin Miners Losses, Saylor Buys More Bitcoin

Another one bites the dust. Embattled crypto hedge fund Three Arrows Capital has been ordered to liquidate its holdings by a court in British Virgin Islands. The order brings to the story that began a week ago, after Celsius’s pause on withdrawals, to a rapid end.   Three Arrows Capital or 3AC seems to have had exposure or interfaced with most scandals afflicting the crypto … Continue reading Notes 6/29: Three Arrows Capital Liquidation, Bitcoin Miners Losses, Saylor Buys More Bitcoin

Traditional Hedge Funds Are Shorting Tether. Can They Bring It Down?

According to reports, traditional hedge funds have begun shorting Tether, the world’s biggest stablecoin by market capitalization and transaction volume. Leon Marshall, head of institutional sales at Genesis – a market maker, told the Wall Street Journal that interest from traditional hedge funds in shorting Tether has spiked in recent weeks. There are two reasons for this. First, they believe that the broader macroeconomic slump … Continue reading Traditional Hedge Funds Are Shorting Tether. Can They Bring It Down?