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First Republic Bank’s Shares Downgraded to Junk Status by S&P Global; Stock Slides More Than 25% Lower

<div>First Republic Bank’s Shares Downgraded to Junk Status by S&P Global; Stock Slides More Than 25% Lower</div>After UBS acquired Credit Suisse and close to a dozen financial institutions injected $30 billion into First Republic Bank four days ago, S&P Global downgraded First Republic’s shares to junk status on Sunday. Investors are concerned that the cash infusion from 11 major financial institutions may not address the bank’s liquidity issues. First Republic’s shares […]

Crystal Blockchain Study Reveals $16.7 Billion in Crypto Assets Stolen Since 2011

US Bank Outflows and Concerns Mount: 11 Banks Bail Out First Republic Bank From Collapse

US Bank Outflows and Concerns Mount: 11 Banks Bail Out First Republic Bank From CollapseAfter the fall of Silvergate Bank, Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), and Signature Bank (SNBY), First Republic Bank, a commercial bank and wealth management services provider, is the latest financial institution to receive a bailout. Close to a dozen lenders announced they will deposit $30 billion into the beleaguered bank’s coffers to shore up liquidity. U.S. […]

Crystal Blockchain Study Reveals $16.7 Billion in Crypto Assets Stolen Since 2011

Coinbase met with Australian banking regulators over local crypto regulations

Coinbase's vice president of international policy told Cointelegraph the meetings took place in Canberra and Sydney and touched on the government’s token mapping efforts.

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) and Treasury have been holding private meetings with executives from Coinbase, with discussions revolving around the future of crypto regulation in Australia.

Responding to Cointelegraph’s request for comment, an RBA spokesperson confirmed recent reports that these private meetings had occurred, stating that Coinbase met with the RBA’s Payments Policy and Financial Stability departments this week, “as part of the Bank’s ongoing liaison with industry.”

Tom Duff Gordon, Coinbase’s vice president of international policy who was reported to have been flown in for the meetings, also confirmed to Cointelegraph that meetings took place with Treasury in Canberra and Sydney.

Gordon said that the meetings touched on the government’s token mapping efforts, and Coinbase also “shared insights on global best practices concerning licensing and custody.”

The Australian Treasury's token mapping exercise was announced on Aug. 22, 2022, and is aimed at categorizing digital assets in a way to work them into existing regulatory frameworks.

A consultation paper was released by the Treasury on Feb. 3, for which the Treasury sought feedback from the crypto industry.

Gordon praised efforts from the Treasury, noting that “The Australian Treasury teams continue to impress us with their high level of sophistication and active involvement,” and adding:

“The Australian Treasury's token mapping exercise provides one of the most detailed and thoughtful papers we have encountered on the topic, setting a strong foundation for their forthcoming draft rules for crypto exchanges and custodians.”

Gordon expressed his desire to see the rules “later this year,” adding that he appreciated “the Treasury's comprehensive groundwork.”

In contrast, Coinbase’s co-founder and CEO Brian Armstrong has been critical of the approach to crypto regulation in the United States, echoing accusations that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is “regulating by enforcement” and claiming that the SEC wants firms to register with them despite there being no way to register.

Related: National Australia Bank makes first-ever cross-border stablecoin transaction

Documents recently obtained by the Australian Financial Review under freedom of information laws suggested that crypto legislation in Australia could be dragged out past 2024 and beyond, however, as final submissions to the cabinet are not expected until late in the year.

Coinbase expanded to Australia on Oct. 4, 2022, with Coinbase’s vice president of international and business development — Nana Murugesan — telling Cointelegraph at the time that it was “very impressed with the open door that we’ve received in Canberra and with different policymakers.”

Crystal Blockchain Study Reveals $16.7 Billion in Crypto Assets Stolen Since 2011

UK Treasury Budget Discusses Separate Reporting of Crypto Assets in Tax Documents

UK Treasury Budget Discusses Separate Reporting of Crypto Assets in Tax DocumentsTaxpayers in the United Kingdom will have to report cryptocurrency assets separately in their tax documents for the tax year 2024-25, according to the Exchequer’s recently published spring 2023 budget. New Criminal Offenses Planned by U.K. Government to Combat Tax Avoidance Amid the chaos in the banking sector following the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank’s […]

Crystal Blockchain Study Reveals $16.7 Billion in Crypto Assets Stolen Since 2011

Federal Investigators Probe Silicon Valley Bank Collapse; SVB and Top Execs Sued by Shareholders

Federal Investigators Probe Silicon Valley Bank Collapse; SVB and Top Execs Sued by ShareholdersThe parent company of Silicon Valley Bank, SVB Financial Group, and two senior executives have been sued by shareholders after SVB’s collapse last Friday. The proposed class action accuses SVB of hiding the fact that interest rate hikes would leave the bank in jeopardy. Additionally, anonymous sources say the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and […]

Crystal Blockchain Study Reveals $16.7 Billion in Crypto Assets Stolen Since 2011

Derivatives data highlights crypto traders’ positive sentiment and belief in further upside

A 5.5% weekly decline in the total crypto market capitalization might have sucked the wind out of some altcoins, but it has done little to alter traders' bullish point-of-view.

The recent weakness in the crypto market has not invalidated the six-week-long ascending trend, even after a failed test of the channel's upper band on Feb. 21. The total crypto market capitalization remains above the psychological $1 trillion mark and, more importantly, cautiously optimistic after a new round of negative remarks from regulators.

Total crypto market cap in USD, 12-hour. Source: TradingView

As displayed above, the ascending channel initiated in mid-January has room for an additional 3.5% correction down to $1.025 trillion market capitalization while still sustaining the bullish formation.

That is excellent news considering the FUD — fear, uncertainty and doubt — brought down by regulators regarding the cryptocurrency industry.

Recent examples of bad news are, a United States District Court judge ruling that emojis such as the rocket ship, stock chart and money bags infer "a financial return on investment," according to a recent court filing. On Feb. 22, a federal court judge ruling on a case against Dapper Labs denied a motion to dismiss the complaint alleging that its NBA Top Shot Moments violated security laws by using such emojis to denote profit.

Outside of the U.S., on Feb. 23, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) issued guidance on how countries should treat crypto assets, strongly advising against giving Bitcoin a legal tender status. The paper stated, "while the supposed potential benefits from crypto assets have yet to materialize, significant risks have emerged."

IMF directors added that "the widespread adoption of crypto assets could undermine the effectiveness of monetary policy, circumvent capital flow management measures, and exacerbate fiscal risks." In short, those policy guidelines created additional FUD that caused investors to rethink their exposure to the cryptocurrency sector.

The 5.5% weekly decline in total market capitalization since Feb. 20 was driven by the 6.3% loss from Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether's (ETH) 4.6% price decline. Consequently, the correction in altcoins was even more robust, with 9 out of the top 80 cryptocurrencies down by 15% or more in 7 days.

Weekly winners and losers among the top 80 coins. Source: Messari

Stacks (STX) gained 53% after the project announced its v2.1 update to strengthen the connection to Bitcoin-native assets and improve its smart contracts' control.

Optimism (OP) rallied 13% as the protocol released the details of its upcoming superchain network, which focuses on interoperability across blockchains.

Curve (CRV) traded down 21% after an Ethereum security analytics firm suggested verkle trees implementation, which could severely impact Curve Finance's use on the mainnet, according to its team.

Leverage demand is balanced despite the price correction

Perpetual contracts, also known as inverse swaps, have an embedded rate that is usually charged every eight hours. Exchanges use this fee to avoid exchange risk imbalances.

A positive funding rate indicates that longs (buyers) demand more leverage. However, the opposite situation occurs when shorts (sellers) require additional leverage, causing the funding rate to turn negative.

Perpetual futures accumulated 7-day funding rate on Feb. 27. Source: Coinglass

The 7-day funding rate was marginally positive for Bitcoin and Ethereum, thus a balanced demand between leverage longs (buyers) and shorts (sellers). The only exception was the slightly higher demand for betting against BNB price, although it is not significant.

The options put/call ratio remains optimistic

Traders can gauge the market's overall sentiment by measuring whether more activity is going through call (buy) options or put (sell) options. Generally speaking, call options are used for bullish strategies, whereas put options are for bearish ones.

A 0.70 put-to-call ratio indicates that put options open interest lags the more bullish calls and is therefore positive. In contrast, a 1.40 indicator favors put options, which can be deemed bearish.

Related: ‘Liquidity’ has most affected Bitcoin’s price in the last year, according to trader Brian Krogsgard

BTC options volume put-to-call ratio. Source: laevitas.ch

Apart from a brief moment on Feb. 25 when Bitcoin's price traded down to $22,750, the demand for bullish call options has exceeded the neutral-to-bearish puts since Feb. 14.

The current 0.65 put-to-call volume ratio shows the Bitcoin options market is more strongly populated by neutral-to-bullish strategies, favoring call (buy) options by 58%.

From a derivatives market perspective, bulls are less likely to fear the recent 5.5% decline in total market capitalization. There is little that federal judges or the IMF can do to severely impair investors' belief that they can benefit from decentralized protocols and cryptocurrencies' censorship resistance abilities. Ultimately, derivatives markets have shown resilience, paving the way for further upside.

This article does not contain investment advice or recommendations. Every investment and trading move involves risk, and readers should conduct their own research when making a decision.

The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are the authors’ alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.

Crystal Blockchain Study Reveals $16.7 Billion in Crypto Assets Stolen Since 2011

LinksDAO likely to put in ‘compelling offer’ to buy Scottish golf course

If the final tally remains in favor of the purchase, the LinksDAO acquisition committee will officially put out a “compelling offer” to purchase the golf course.

The decentralized autonomous organization (DAO)-operated golf startup, LinksDAO, may soon put in an offer to purchase the newly marketed Spey Bay Golf Club in Scotland worth about $900,000. 

LinksDAO — self-described as a “global group of golf enthusiasts” that is on a mission to build the “world’s greatest golf community” — officially opened the proposal vote on Feb. 20, which came after a few weeks of informal deliberation.

It would be the DAO’s first ever golf course purchase.

While voting officially closes on Feb. 22 at 12pm Eastern Time, over 88% of the 4,100 LinksDAO token holders have already voted in favor of the proposal.

If the final tally remains in favor of the purchase, the LinksDAO acquisition committee will meet with the relevant parties required to construct a “compelling offer” for the purchase of the club “with the full intent of successfully purchasing the golf course,” the proposal stated.

The current voting tally of LinksDAO token holders on the proposal to put in an offer for the Scottish golf course. Source: LinksDAO

The authors of the proposal — “Bez”, “Jim”, “cbruce”, and “nickwalkermsu” — explained that while much of the DAO’s research efforts have gone into finding a suitable golf course purchase in the United States, “this listing was too special to ignore.”

“In our search for our first golf course to purchase, we have identified a promising property in Scotland called Spey Bay Golf Club. This vote is to determine if we should move forward with submitting an offer and working to purchase the course.”

The authors added that the course is “playable today,” and that its high ceiling to low price ratio makes it a worthy investment.

“Even a price of triple the ‘guide price’ would be cheaper than most mediocre courses we have assessed thus far in the US,” the authors explained.

As such, LinksDAO compressed the voting window to 48 hours in order to act swiftly on the potential purchase and hopefully get good price for the club:

“The timing of the sale requires us to act now should we decide to participate in the process. [...] We intend to execute this purchase while maintaining velocity on our efforts to acquire course(s) in the US.”

LinksDAO is expecting to pitch an offer in the vicinity of $900,000, which is said to be roughly its current market value, according to Golf Business News.

The 18-hole golf course is located in Fochabers, about 3.5 hours away from Scotland's capital city of Edinburgh.

The DAO explained the potential purchase would be financed with capital from its fundraise and that it would transfer funds from its treasury to a corporate bank account to support ongoing operations.

The authors of the proposal noted that this would occur within 30 days of the purchase.

LinksDAO officially established itself as a DAO in January 2022, which came on the back of a $10.5 million fundraising effort where more than 9,000 of its “leisure” and “global” membership NFTs were sold on OpenSea in a short 24 hour period.

There are now 5,302 owners of LinksDAO memberships, which are issued on the Ethereum network, according to nonfungible token (NFT) marketplace OpenSea.

The average floor price of the memberships is 0.29 Ether (ETH), or about $480 at current prices.

Related: Types of DAOs and how to create a decentralized autonomous organization

While it is not known how much is in the LinksDAO treasury, the LinksDAO market cap is currently $4.34 million, according to CoinGecko.

NBA superstar Stephen Curry is a notable figure to have invested in a LinksDAO membership. However it is not known whether he is still a token holder.

Crystal Blockchain Study Reveals $16.7 Billion in Crypto Assets Stolen Since 2011

Sell or stake: Ethereum staking giant Lido mulls choices for its $30M ETH

While LidoDAO’s current inflows of about 1000 stETH are sufficient to cover operating costs for the time being, it’s worried that may not last.

The decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) behind Lido — the largest Ethereum staking pool — is deliberating whether it should sell or stake the $30 million in Ether (ETH) from its treasury.

A proposal was submitted on Feb. 14 by the DAO’s financial unit, Steakhouse Financial that considers four choices, one of which contemplates staking part or all of its ETH on Lido in the form of Lido Staked ETH (stETH).

Another would see LidoDAO selling a part or all of its 20,304 ETH for a stablecoin, with the purpose being to extend the DAO’s runway.

The four proposals (pictured) submitted by Steakhouse Financial to the LidoDAO asking how it should manage its treasury. Source: Lido

The proposal comes as ETH staking withdrawals will soon be enabled through Ethereum’s Shanghai and Capella upgrades expected to take place sometime in earl 2023 according to the Ethereum Foundation.

While converting the ETH to Staked ETH may lead to more protocol rewards, the DAO is wary that too much staking may risk it not having enough Ether on hand “in case of need.”

Assets currently held in LidoDAO’s treasury. ETH currently accounts for about 9% of the DAO’s over $350 million treasury holdings. Source: Lido.

Regarding operating expenses, Steakhouse Financial suggested it may be necessary to swap Ether for a stablecoin in order to “preemptively secure additional runway.”

Steakhouse Financial noted that with LidoDAO’s current inflows at about 1000 stETH per month, the DAO is making approximately $1.3 million to 1.5 million per month with the price of ETH hovering between $1,100 and 1,700 over the past few months.

The monthly inflow of stETH on Lido has steadily increased since January 2021. Source: Dune Analytics.

Steakhouse Financial said those figures alone should be “sufficient to cover monthly operating expenses.”

However, they’re still deliberating whether it is worth converting excess stETH into a stablecoin to better prepare for any change in market conditions that may lead to increased operating expenses.

A business development representative from LidoDAO noted that they’re not particularly thrilled with the current state of the stablecoin market:

“Considering all the FUD and rumors, both DAI due to USDC collateral and USDC itself pose potential risk if they become frozen. That being said I have issues with the liquidity of LUSD and USDT has yet its own issues.”

It appears as though most LidoDAO members are in favor of partially selling and staking a portion of the 20,304 ETH locked in its Aragon smart contract.

Related: Lido overtakes MakerDAO and now has the highest TVL in DeFi

The proposals come as the total value locked (TVL) of stETH fell 6.66% between Feb. 6-13.

The TVL of Lido is currently $8.13 billion, according to the on-chain metrics platform DeFiLlama.

Crystal Blockchain Study Reveals $16.7 Billion in Crypto Assets Stolen Since 2011

IMF Report on El Salvador’s Bitcoin Adoption: Risks Averted, but Transparency Needed

IMF Report on El Salvador’s Bitcoin Adoption: Risks Averted, but Transparency NeededAccording to a recent mission statement published by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), El Salvador has adopted bitcoin as legal tender and has avoided risks so far. The IMF states that the risks have not materialized due to the limited use of bitcoin. However, the United Nations financial agency warns that if its legal tender […]

Crystal Blockchain Study Reveals $16.7 Billion in Crypto Assets Stolen Since 2011