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US Banking Crisis Continues and Pepe Becomes the 3rd Biggest Memecoin 

US banking crisis continues As First Republic Bank becomes fourth major casualty 

First Republic Bank joins Silicon Valley Bank, Silvergate Bank and Signature Bank as the four major US financial institutions to go under. 

The United States banking crisis has claimed another victim, with San Francisco bank First Republic becoming the second-largest bank to fail in US history. The financial institution predominantly targeted those with high net worth and performed them with a swathe of wealth management services.  

While prominent banks toppled around First Republic Bank, the company was seemingly doing fine to kick off 2023, delivering promising financial results in January. However, this turned out to be the calm before the storm, and the bank turned to outside investors to stabilise their balance sheets as the bank’s April earnings report was far from pretty.

First Republic’s demise came as the company was unable to navigate the Fed’s interest rate hikes. The company reported its interest payments soared 2,040% year-on-year. To put the enormity of this in context, BTC’s massive rise from March 2020 ($6k) to October 2021 ($67k) was a 700% increase. 

In the immediate aftermath, regulators were unsure what would happen to First Repbulic’s assets. There’s a law in the United States where a single financial entity cannot control more than 10% of deposits, and the best-positioned institution to take over FR’s assets, JP Morgan, already owned more than this.

Authorities made an exception to the rule, and JP Morgan came “to the rescue”, acquiring all of First Republic’s remaining assets. This turn of events gives the banking mega-giant control of over $2 trillion in customer funds.  

Bitcoin fell approximately 5% in the hours following the banking turmoil, but is showing signs of recovery in the days since. 

Coinbase goes toe to toe with the SEC 

Coinbase has asked the court to force the SEC to clarify crypto regulations.  

Coinbase has returned serve to the SEC via a ticked-off blog post from the company’s Chief Legal Officer (CLO), Paul Grewal. The statement was clear in its intentions, rebuffing the SEC’s claims that certain Coinbase services are operating outside US regulatory frameworks. 

“Coinbase does not list, clear, or effect trading in securities.”  He went on to say that if the SEC pursued legal action against the company, there would be “major programmatic risks that would fail on the merits”.  

And so, before the SEC has taken any official legal action against Coinbase, the tables have been turned. On 25 April, Coinbase instead sued the SEC in an attempt to get an answer on various regulatory issues.

The SEC has long been at odds with several major projects and businesses in the crypto industry. The US regulator has cracked down on the sector in recent years, particularly focusing on exchanges that allow the trade of, as they say, unregistered securities. The SEC maintain a position that the “vast majority” of cryptocurrencies, under US law, are considered securities – but Bitcoin isn’t. 

American exchange Coinbase, one of the most popular in the world, is the most recent business to fall into the SEC’s line of sight. The SEC is contending that elements of Coinbase’s business – including its spot trading, staking and institutional trading services – are unlawful due to the promotion of unregistered securities. The same incident occurred previously, with Kraken being forced to remove certain similar services for its US customers. 

Pepe becomes the third largest meme token with historic week 

Pepe the frog, an internet meme prominent on social media and message boards, now has a token trailing only to Dogecoin and Shiba Inu in market cap.  

If there’s one thing the crypto community has, it’s a good sense of humour. The industry has long been big on supporting meme coins. Dogecoin was the first to break through the barrier, sitting inside the top ten tokens by market cap and seeing lots of love from billionaire and crypto darling Elon Musk. Shiba Inu was the next meme token to grow exponentially, leveraging its newfound popularity to create a functional decentralised exchange, ShibaSwap. 

Pepe the Frog has been an internet sensation since its inception in 2005, but has been underrepresented in crypto circles – until now. Since late April, Pepe’s price (PEPE) has catapulted upward by more than 300%, with volume and liquidity following suit. 

The meteoric rise of the Ethereum-based token has pushed it into the top 100 cryptocurrencies by market cap, and places it as the third-biggest meme coin. Pepe quickly overtook its two biggest contenders, Floki and Baby DogeCoin.

Like most meme coins, PEPE doesn’t exactly do much. The roadmap makes for pretty poor reading – the goal for the token is really just getting it listed on exchanges to facilitate a “meme takeover”. Of course, coins not doing a whole lot doesn’t necessarily mean it is a red flag, as Dogecoin was created as a joke only, without a project team and it nonetheless gained community support.  

For the past couple of days, the hype has settled as the traders look to consolidate their portfolios at the token’s new price. It will be interesting to see whether this is just another pit stop along the way to contesting Shiba Inu, or whether PEPE’s momentum will be stopped in its tracks.  

You can now buy PEPE on the Swyftx trading platform.  

New crypto investment show, modelled after Shark Tank to debut  

The reality TV show called Killer Whales will allow crypto developers to pitch their best ideas to a panel of experts.  

Shark Tank is a popular TV show for entrepreneurs that has been around for over a decade and has been adapted in several other countries, including Australia. Now, CoinMarketCap, one of the largest players in crypto, wants to tap into the television show’s success by releasing its very own copycat – Killer Whales. The company is teaming up with crypto entertainment project HELLO Labs. 

The setup of Killer Whales is very similar to Shark Tank. The brightest and best young (or old) developers in the blockchain and Web3 space can put forward their ideas and projects to a panel of judges called “Whales”. The Whales can then decide if they wish to incubate the project and provide funding. The only requirement on the developer’s side is that their project’s NFT or crypto tokens must be released prior to submitting.

Killer Whales judges are yet to be announced, but will supposedly comprise of crypto influencers, established Web3 developers and “credible venture capitalists”. Filming is set to take place in Hollywood between 26-30 June, and will be distributed to major streaming services following production. 

The joint CMC/HELLO Labs venture follows a slate of new crypto/Web3-based TV shows hitting the air in 2023. Perhaps the most notable entrant is Dan Harmon, creator of the hit shows Community and Rick and Morty. His new show, Krapopolis, integrated a 10,420-strong NFT collection that allowed NFT owners to vote on creative decisions and access hidden content. 

Written by

Ben Knight