Bitcoin breaks $60K, US gov’t moves seized BTC, and more: Hodler’s Digest, Feb. 25 – March 2

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Niamh Kavanagh
Niamh Kavanagh
Niamh Kavanagh is a social media and digital marketing expert, CMO of Dream Machine Foundation, and storyteller with a purpose. She grew Dream Machine to 8M followers and edited videos that raised $750K for charity, earning attention from Oprah, Steve Harvey, and Khloe Kardashian.

Top Stories This Week

Bitcoin breaches $60K for the first time in over 2 years

Bitcoin breached $60,000 for the first time in over two years after rising over 6% on Feb. 28. The last time cryptocurrency traded above this mark was on Nov. 12, 2021, when Bitcoin started its reversal, falling over 67% to the macro low of $19,297 at the beginning of April 2022. Bitcoin’s bullish momentum came two days after the spot Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) broke an all-time high of $2.4 billion in daily trading volume on Feb. 26. The new nine spot Bitcoin ETFs have recorded combined trading volumes of over $2 billion for at least two days over the week.

US gov’t moved $922 million of seized Bitcoin after BTC price broke $60,000

The United States government transferred $922 million worth of Bitcoin from two cryptocurrency wallets that held funds seized from Bitfinex in 2016. The transfers occurred the same day Bitcoin (BTC) breached $60,000 for the first time in over two years on Feb. 28. The government seized the funds in 2016 after Bitfinex was hacked for approximately 119,754 BTC, worth over $7.4 billion at its current price. The hacker, Ilya Lichtenstein, laundered over $4.5 billion worth of Bitcoin from Bitfinex. Lichtenstein and his rapper wife, Heather Morgan (also known as Razzlekhan), were arrested in February 2022.

Gemini to return at least $1.1B to Earn customers in settlement with NYDFS

Cryptocurrency exchange Gemini and the New York State Department of Financial Services have reached a settlement that will see Gemini return at least $1.1 billion to customers of the Gemini Earn program through the Genesis bankruptcy proceeding. Gemini will also pay a $37 million penalty for multiple compliance failures “that threatened the safety and soundness of the company,” Superintendent Adrienne A. Harris of the NYDFS explained in a Feb. 28 statement. If approved by the bankruptcy court, Gemini said it expects Earn users to receive 100% of their cryptocurrency assets back plus appreciation on top of that.

Crypto exchange BitForex halts withdrawals, stops responding to users

Hong Kong-based crypto exchange BitForex has halted withdrawals without giving a reason following the withdrawal of $56 million from its wallets on Feb. 23. The exchange’s X account hasn’t been updated since May 2023. On its official Telegram channel, BitForex users reported problems with their accounts, varying from the inability to enter their accounts to the dashboard not showing any assets. Several users shared a pop-up screen showing they are blocked from accessing the company’s website. BitForex was once considered to be one of the leading crypto exchanges in terms of market capitalization.

FTX founder SBF asks for a 6.5-year sentence, tells prison guards to invest in Solana

The legal counsel for former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried is requesting for less than seven years in sentencing for multiple counts of fraud and money laundering. A jury found Bankman-Fried guilty in November 2023. While federal prosecutors are expected to submit their sentencing recommendations on March 15, the Pre-sentence Investigation Report has recommended a 100-year sentence for the former FTX CEO. Judge Lewis Kaplan, who is overseeing the Bankman-Fried case, is scheduled to announce sentencing on March 28. Along with the sentencing submission, a total of 29 supportive letters were attached for Judge Kaplan’s review, revealing fresh details on the days following the exchange’s collapse and initial efforts to recover funds.

Winners and Losers

At the end of the week, Bitcoin (BTC) is at $62,069, Ether (ETH) at $3,425 and XRP at $0.59. The total market cap is at $2.31 trillion, according to CoinMarketCap.

Among the biggest 100 cryptocurrencies, the top three altcoin gainers of the week are dogwifhat (WIF) at 254.13%, Pepe (PEPE) at 238.54% and Bonk (BONK) at 113.38%. 

The top three altcoin losers of the week are Starknet (STRK) at -7.51%, Bitget Token (BGB) at -5.10% and Worldcoin (WLD) at – 5.00%.

For more info on crypto prices, make sure to read Cointelegraph’s market analysis.

Most Memorable Quotations

“The biggest mistake I’ve ever made was not buying Bitcoin when it was nothing; that’s the biggest mistake I’ve made. […] It cost nothing at some point.”

Trevor Noah, comedian and entertainer

“​​The Oracle of Delphi played an absolutely pivotal role in the history of Greece. […] I would love to see blockchain oracles playing a positive social role as well.”

Ari Juels, professor at Cornell Tech and chief scientist at Chainlink Labs

“It’s great to build a unicorn, but it’s even better to have an exit.”

Kevin Holmes, CEO and founder of Founders Network

“My view is that it’s the same kind of activity, the same kind of risk, and should have the same kind of regulations […] I’m not looking for fancier regulations or anything tougher; I just want a level playing field.”

Elizabeth Warren, United States Senator

“By the time all other members of FTX’s founding team and senior leadership had given up on helping customers and switched to protecting themselves, Sam kept trying to help.”

Daniel Chapsky, former head of data science at FTX

“I think by early 2025 we might have a baby AGI.”

Ben Goertzel, founder of SingularityNET

Prediction of the week

Bitcoin analyst PlanB predicts 10 months of ‘face melting FOMO’

The Bitcoin bull market officially started on March 1, according to pseudonymous quantitative analyst PlanB, who is also the creator of the controversial stock-to-flow (S2F) model for Bitcoin’s price.

The Bitcoin accumulation phase has ended, along with the easy Bitcoin buying opportunities, according to an X post by PlanB, referencing the S2F chart: “Bull market has started. If history is any guide, we will see ~10 months of face-melting [fear of missing out] FOMO: extreme price pumps combined with multiple -30% drops.”

The analyst’s prediction came two days after Bitcoin breached $60,000 for the first time in over two years. 

PlanB’s predictions are in line with other analyst’s expectations. According to Vetle Lunde, a senior analyst at K33 Research, Bitcoin usually consolidates during the period immediately after the halving but rallies in the following months.

FUD of the Week

Binance drops Nigerian naira from P2P platform, gov’t demands $10B compensation

Binance has removed the Nigerian currency, the naira, from its peer-to-peer service as the Nigerian government reportedly seeks $10 billion in compensation amid a crackdown on the crypto exchange. Bayo Onanuga, President Bola Tinubu’s special adviser, said the compensation is part of efforts to stabilize the local currency. Onanuga argued that Binance’s arbitrarily fixed foreign exchange rates would destroy the Nigerian economy if it was not stopped. Later, a government representative denied reports of a $10 billion fine. Binance is under increased scrutiny as the Central Bank of Nigeria expressed concerns about $26 billion in “suspicious flows” that passed through the exchange in 2023. Several reports indicate that two Binance executives have been detained by the National Security Adviser’s office.

Darknet market crypto crimes on the rise in 2023, $1.7B revenue — Chainalysis

The crypto industry continues to suffer from cybercrimes, with darknet markets being one of the two categories showing an increase in revenue in 2023, according to the latest report from blockchain analysis firm Chainalysis. The Chainalysis “2024 Crypto Crime Report,” released on Feb. 29, reveals that darknet marketplaces received revenue of at least $1.7 billion in 2023 — a rebound from its 2022 data when authorities shut down the world’s largest darknet marketplace, Hydra. Mega Darknet Market is leading the pack with over $500 billion in crypto inflows.

Seneca stablecoin hacker returns stolen funds after $6.4M exploit

Stablecoin protocol Seneca has offered a 20% bounty to the exploiter who gained access to at least $6.4 million in digital assets after exploiting an approval mechanism bug in the protocol’s smart contract. The attack was flagged by multiple blockchain security firms on Feb. 28. Companies like CertiK urged users to revoke approvals from an address on the Ethereum and Arbitrum networks. The exploit happened due to a critical “call” vulnerability in the protocol’s smart contract, allowing the attacker to perform external calls to any address.

Top Magazine Pieces of the Week

How the digital yuan could change the world… for better or worse

The digital yuan is at the forefront of CBDC technology, but its breakthrough moment has yet to come.

Jameson Lopp: Skeptical of spot Ether ETFs, BTC price prediction dilemma: X Hall of Flame

Should the SEC deny the spot Ether ETF, Jameson Lopp foresees an increase in cash directed towards spot Bitcoin ETFs.

Owner of seven-trait CryptoPunk Seedphrase partners with Sotheby’s: NFT Collector

Seedphrase said he partnered with Sotheby’s because they “deeply understand the digital art space with their attentive eye on key trends and curatorial taste.”

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Editorial Staff

Cointelegraph Magazine writers and reporters contributed to this article.

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