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Bitcoin surpasses $52K for the first time since April 2022 

Fans of Ethereum won’t feel left out either as the second-biggest cryptocurrency breaks a milestone of its own. 

It’s an exciting time to be a Bitcoin fan. Over a month has passed since the landmark approval of the United States’ first-ever spot Bitcoin ETF…and a lot has happened. At first, the response was a little lukewarm. There was plenty of activity, but it was mostly investors playing musical chairs as many sold out of the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC), resulting in a price dip. But recently, inflows into the various spot Bitcoin ETFs have largely outweighed the outflows. Last week was the turning point, with over USD $2 billion worth of money being thrown at Bitcoin funds – particularly BlackRock and Fidelity’s offerings. 

The result of all this new capital had a profound impact on Bitcoin’s price. The coin had threatened to breach the USD $50K barrier for much of 2023, but never came through on this potential. 2024, however, is a different ball game. Bitcoin reached its highest price since way back in April 2022, demonstrating the shifting sentiment around the coin as it peaked at over $52K.  

It appears that among all the Bitcoin hype, Ethereum got a little bit of FOMO. Not to be outdone, the second-biggest cryptocurrency has had a month to remember of its own. Amid speculation Ether will be the next spot ETF to be approved – and an impending upgrade to the blockchain’s core (Dencun) – the price of ETH has surged 22% over the past month. The coin snuck past the $3K milestone, and like Bitcoin, posted its highest price since April 2022. 

Worldcoin explodes following announcement of OpenAI’s text-to-video AI launch 

OpenAI CEO, Sam Altman, is a key figure behind the Worldcoin project.  

The power of artificial intelligence is getting a little scary. The most recent project from OpenAI, Sora, is the next evolution of text-to-video and the most masterful example of it to date. Users can generate realistic animations up to one minute long and the results – while not always great – show incredible potential. 

Okay, so why is this showcase relevant? Honestly, it kind of isn’t – but don’t tell that to the crypto market.  

Worldcoin is a bit of a controversial project. The top-100 ranked cryptocurrency aims to revolutionise identity verification, making it more secure while simultaneously streamlining it for institutions. In theory it sounds impressive, but some pundits (including Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin) have warned that the project’s data collection policies may be a little risky. 

Nevertheless, hype around the project has built of late – and reached boiling point last week after the launch of OpenAI’s Sora. The link between the two is pretty simple. Sam Altman, the ex-but-also-current-CEO of OpenAI, is a major backer of the Worldcoin project. Altman is the Chair of Tools for Humanity, the organisation responsible for developing and managing Worldcoin. 

The tantalising Sora AI isn’t the only reason for Worldcoin’s run though. The ecosystem has steadily grown and now boasts a community comparable to many other top coins in the cryptosphere. In fact, just last week the number of active World App wallets (required to participate in the identity verification service) surpassed 1M daily users, with many of them being verified by Worldcoin’s “Orb”. 

All of this culminated in the price of Worldcoin’s native token, WLD, jumping a whopping 124% in the past week.   

Australian Federal Police officer allegedly stole $6m worth of Bitcoin 

82 BTC were supposedly “missing” from a hardware wallet previously seized during a Steroid raid.  

I’m sure many are familiar with the picture of a fire hydrant caught on fire, often cited as a great example of irony. Well, if the allegations coming out of the AFP are correct, we have a new candidate to replace the image. The story starts back in 2019 when police were on the tail of a Melbourne-based steroid trafficking ring. Upon stumbling across a residence in the state’s west, the Cyber Crime Squad uncovered large quantities of “steroid-type substances” (so… steroids…) along with a Trezor hardware wallet. 

After a few weeks waiting for approval, the team responsible for the roid raid finally got access to the wallet. But a quick search showed something interesting – approximately 81.616 (AUD $6.4m) worth of BTC had been transferred out of the wallet while it was in the AFP’s possession. At first, the team thought that a member of the roid crew had gained remote access and reclaimed some of their funds. But after a couple of years, new evidence suggested that this wasn’t the case (possibly the fact that that’s not how hardware wallets work). 

The evidence? An IP address associated with the withdrawals came from within the AFP’s Melbourne office.  

The officer accused, William Wheatley, was part of the AFP’s cybercrime division for several years before being charged in 2022. As the matter goes to court, his lawyer denies Wheatley’s involvement and maintains his innocence.  

Bankrupt crypto lender given green light to sell $1.6 billion worth of its ETH and BTC

Genesis collapsed in early 2023 as part of the contagion caused by FTX’s malpractice.

There can be no understating the impact FTX’s downfall had, and is still having, on the crypto industry. The USD $9B failure sent financial authorities scrambling, kicked off a new wave of regulation by enforcement and sent the market into a spiral it is only now emerging from. Part of the fallout involved several associated platforms crumbling too – including the lending giant Genesis.  

Genesis, partnered with the crypto exchange and business Gemini, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in January 2023 after being sued by the SEC for selling unregistered securities. The failure was a long time coming though, as the platform halted customer withdrawals two months previously – and never re-enabled them. 

Part of Genesis’ bankruptcy plan had been to compensate all customers in full. However, unlike the FTX proceedings, Genesis aims to allow for the rising prices of assets such as BTC and ETH, rather than repay victims based on January 2023’s prices. This didn’t sit well with Gemini, who argued that their company, as an equity provider, would not receive due compensation as a result.   

However, Gemini’s current complaints have gone unfulfilled, as US bankruptcy Judge Sean Lane approved Genesis’ request to liquidate $1.6B worth of crypto holdings. The portfolio includes shares in Grayscale Bitcoin Trust, Grayscale Ethereum Trust and Grayscale Ethereum Classic Trust. 

It’s worth noting that the approval from Judge Lane is only for the sale of crypto assets – the overall liquidation and repayment plans are yet to be accepted by the court. 

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